“The fact that I’m having a rally on that day, you can really think about that very positively as a celebration,” he told Fox. “There’s a rally, to me, is a celebration. It’s going to be really a celebration and it’s an interesting date. It wasn’t done for that reason, but it’s an interesting date. But it’s a celebration.”
The Fox News host who raised Juneteenth with him, Harris Faulkner, is a black woman who pressed him on issues related to race throughout their interview.
It was the rare instance of the president bending to criticism. He has backed down at times before, like from threats during budget fights with Democrats, particularly over funding for his desired wall along the southwestern border. Yet for the most part, Mr. Trump attacks and counterattacks with ferocity and rarely gives any sign that he is listening to his detractors.
Mr. Trump has condemned the killing of Mr. Floyd and called his family to offer his support, but he has focused most of his public comments in the past two weeks on a tough “law and order” message assailing the largely peaceful protests that at times turned violent. He has rejected the notion that there is systemic racism in law enforcement, declaring that 99.9 percent of police officers are “great, great people.”
He chose Oklahoma to begin holding rallies again — even though he won it by 36 percentage points in 2016 — in part because it was one of the earliest states to lift restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump said he also planned to hold rallies in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, all of them key states in his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Campaign officials did not respond to an email seeking comment about the change, and it was not immediately clear how far in advance Mr. Trump had told his advisers he wanted the rally moved before he tweeted his statement. One person briefed on the events said campaign officials learned earlier Friday evening, but it was not clear when.
Even after the president’s tweet, a campaign official sent out one of her own tweets, which has since been deleted, promoting the rally with a link to a web page still listing it on June 19. Earlier in the evening, the Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted that he had received 300,000 ticket requests for the event.