Trump Flubs Basic History During Thursday WSJ Interview


President Donald Trump consistently proves that he has no idea what he’s talking about on a wide range of subjects. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal that was published this week, Trump staggeringly tried to take credit for making the holiday of Juneteenth famous. The holiday commemorates the freeing of slaves at the end of the Civil War — which, of course, took place over 150 years ago. The first celebration of the occasion was in 1866 — and Trump is so egomaniacal that he wants us to take him seriously when he suggests that he’s the one who made it famous.

The context of his remarks is the tumult over his campaign’s initial decision to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Juneteenth, which is June 19. Tulsa was the site of a violent attack on a local black community in 1921 that claimed the lives of at least dozens of people, and the Trump campaign’s selection of the spot for a June 19 rally seemed like at least someone on the Trump team wanted to turn Juneteenth into a reminder of racist violence.

The Trump campaign eventually announced that they’d be moving their rally to June 20 to accommodate concerns about their commandeering of June 19 and Juneteenth. The rally is slated to be a big event — it’s the first rally that Trump has held in months following shutdowns amidst the sharpest spread of the Coronavirus.

Now, Trump told the Wall Street Journal:

‘I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.’

He sounds like he wants to pretend like the controversy around his campaign’s ignorance was actually a good thing because it brought attention to the holiday. Trump was reminded by an aide that the White House had actually put out statements acknowledging Juneteenth during each of the first three years of Trump’s presidency.

What an absolutely ludicrous debacle. If nobody had ever heard of Juneteenth, then why were so many people concerned about the Trump campaign holding a rally on that day? If nobody had ever heard of the holiday, then why has it been observed for over one and a half centuries? At this rate, Trump might as well claim credit for the famousness of the Fourth of July next, because his insistence that he’s the one responsible for making Juneteenth famous is ridiculous.

The actual record of the Trump administration has been dismal for black Americans.

Although Trump has frequently tried to cast himself as some sort of pseudomessiah, the reality is that black Americans have continued to face many of the same setbacks that they did in prior eras. Trump’s widely touted criminal justice reform, for instance, which included an easing of regulations on prisoners, only applied to the federal prison system, which is a small minority of prisons in the U.S. Elsewhere, black Americans continue to be disproportionately targeted by authorities. Meanwhile, Trump also signed tax breaks into law for companies that invest in economically marginalized areas — but the acute benefits of those tax breaks go to the wealthy.

Trump has also peddled blatant racism. He routinely belittles black people among his opponents as supposedly low intelligence people. Many of his prominent targets for criticism, in fact, have been black, from the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the latter of whom he’s dismissed as an “extraordinarily low IQ person.”