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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt praised President Donald Trump for rescheduling his first campaign rally in months away from the Juneteenth observance of the end of slavery in the U.S.
Stitt, a Republican, said in a statement late Friday that he looks forward to hosting the president in Tulsa and celebrating the restarting of the state’s economy after coronavirus shutdowns.
“I am thankful President Trump recognizes the significance of June 19 and has chosen to move his campaign rally out of respect to Oklahomans and the important Juneteenth celebrations,” Stitt said.
In a previous statement welcoming Trump, Stitt didn’t mention Juneteenth.
The president tweeted Friday night that he’s moving the rally to June 20 to honor requests from black friends and supporters. He faced fierce blowback from African American community and political leaders for initially choosing Juneteenth.
“To choose the date, to come to Tulsa, is totally disrespectful and a slap in the face to even happen,” said Sherry Gamble Smith, president of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce, an organization named after the prosperous black community that white Oklahomans burned down in a 1921 attack.
Trump’s rallies have been on hiatus since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.