- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2020

President Trump is expected to address America’s civil unrest and racial justice at a campaign rally in Oklahoma on Saturday, while the rush to overhaul the country’s police departments gains momentum and Democrats try to temper the far left’s calls to defund the police.

Mr. Trump pushed back his next campaign rally by one day, to June 20, amid concerns about the rally overlapping with Juneteenth, a commemoration related to the end of slavery in America.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Sunday that he spoke with Mr. Trump as he made the decision to move the Tulsa rally’s date and learned that Mr. Trump was well aware of the significance of June 19, the anniversary of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, after the end of the Civil War, officially freeing the last remaining slaves in the Confederacy.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how much he knew about it already — and knew about the Black Wall Street there and the whole history of it,” Mr. Carson said in reference to a 1921 pogrom against a wealthy black neighborhood in Tulsa.

The president “was thinking about making some remarks to acknowledge what had happened there and why we don’t want that kind of situation to ever occur in this country again,” the HUD secretary said.

When George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” pointed out that Mr. Trump will be accepting the Republican nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, on the anniversary of a 1960 Ku Klux Klan attack in that city, Mr. Carson bristled and said people need to be less concerned with political correctness.

“We need to move away from being offended by everything, of going through history and looking at everything, of renaming everything,” he said.

With Mr. Trump’s campaign planning to resume the president’s rallies for the first time since March 2, Democrats are looking to leverage the Black Lives Matter movement to thwart the Trump campaign.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden’s prominent supporters have labored to steer the far left’s cries to defund the police toward a less-antagonistic message, although some Democratic-controlled local governments aren’t cooperating with such efforts.

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, said Sunday that America needs to restructure and reimagine policing, but “nobody is going to defund the police.”

Mr. Clyburn, 79, told CNN that he is sympathetic with Black Lives Matter protesters because police terrify him now in a way they never did during the civil rights movement last century.

“I didn’t grow up in fear of police, even in a segregated environment,” the black lawmaker told CNN. “We never feared the police. But all of a sudden now, I do fear the police. The young blacks fear the police.”

Mr. Clyburn’s emergence as a Democratic kingmaker was built on his work during the 1960s civil rights era. He entered Congress in 1993 after serving on the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, which was established after highway patrolmen fatally shot three students in 1968 near the campus of historically black South Carolina State College, where Mr. Clyburn graduated in 1961.

Mr. Clyburn’s endorsement of Mr. Biden proved crucial to the Biden campaign’s success in the South Carolina primary and paved Mr. Biden’s way to the nomination. Now, Mr. Clyburn’s rhetoric on shifting the debate away from “defunding” the police could be critical to Mr. Biden’s success at building momentum for his campaign with the support of people nationwide protesting police and racial injustices.

Newer Democratic Party power brokers also have sought to align the Black Lives Matter movement’s activism with Mr. Biden’s campaign.

Democratic activist Stacey Abrams, a failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate who has campaigned for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, told ABC that people need to avoid getting mired in the rhetoric of defunding police.

“We have to have a transformation of how we view the role of law enforcement, how we view the construct of public safety, and how we invest not only in the work that we need them to do to protect us but the work that we need to do to protect and build our communities,” said Ms. Abrams, echoing Mr. Clyburn.

“And that’s the conversation we’re having: We’ll use different language to describe it, but fundamentally we must have reformation and transformation,” she said.

Trump critics such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris, California Democrat, have accused the president of deliberately picking Tulsa as a racist dog whistle to the 1921 attack, one of the deadliest racial incidents in American history. A 2001 state commission estimated that 75 to 300 people, most of them black, were killed, although official tolls at the time and the number of confirmable deaths in 2001 were both in the 30s.

Mr. Trump has said the selection of his campaign event was not deliberate.

“Think about it as a celebration. They’re always a celebration,” Mr. Trump told Fox News. “In the history of politics, I think I can say there’s never been any group or any person that’s had rallies like I do.”

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said Sunday that the Oklahoma rally is becoming Mr. Trump’s most popular ever. Mr. Parscale tweeted that there were 800,000 ticket requests for the Oklahoma event as of Sunday morning and previously said the campaign was looking to add a second event in Oklahoma to accommodate the throngs of people eager to see the president.

Some public health officials are fretting about Mr. Trump’s rally and his return to the campaign trail amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told CBS on Sunday that he would advise the president to not hold large rallies and to lead by example.

Mr. Trump’s team has not heeded Dr. Gottlieb’s advice but has encouraged those attending the Oklahoma event to take proper precautions. When pressed on whether Trump supporters ought to wear masks at the rally, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNN “probably so.” The campaign is also requiring people who wish to attend the rally to waive the Trump campaign’s liability of coronavirus infection.

• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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