WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump said he plans to resume his campaign rallies beginning in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19, a setting and a date that both have deep meaning for African Americans at a moment when the nation has been again forced to confront its long history of racial injustice.
The campaign had halted its signature rallies in March after Americans adopted social-distancing practices to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Trump said earlier this week he would resume the rallies as soon as next week.
He ticked off locations for future rallies in remarks to reporters during a meeting with black supporters and media figures at the White House on Wednesday. He later said the Tulsa rally would be on June 19, followed by events in unspecified cities in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.
But his choice of when and where to resume the big, often raucous campaign gatherings is freighted with significance, particularly in the wake of the death of Mr George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last month and the nationwide protests that have followed.
The rally will fall on Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery. The date is not recognised as a federal holiday and is largely celebrated within the US African American community.
And the location, Tulsa, is also fraught: The city is the site of one of the worst massacres of black people by whites in the US, the 1921 attack on the neighbourhood of Greenwood, once known as "Black Wall Street".
Ms Katrina Pierson, an adviser to the Trump campaign, said in a statement "that the party of Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the last reading of the Emancipation Proclamation". Mr Trump, she added, "has built a record of success for black Americans".
The campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but Ms Symone Sanders, a senior adviser, responded to Mr Trump's plans by tweeting simply: "The unmitigated gall."
Mr Trump's rallies attract thousands of his supporters, are often carried live on cable news networks and provide his campaign a wealth of data for get-out-the-vote efforts. Mr Trump holds most of his rallies in states that are regarded as competitive in November's election.
Oklahoma is considered safely in the President's column, but the state has reported less than 7,500 cases of the disease - among the fewest in the country - and 356 deaths.