Melania Trump commemorates the end of slavery from a gilded White House room while the president tweets threats at protesters
Melania Trump reads a book about Juneteenth at the White House.
Screenshot / The White House
First Lady Melania Trump released a video on Friday, June 19, from a gilded room in the White House, the holiday celebrating the end of US slavery.
In the meantime, President Donald Trump spent the morning tweeting attacks on Fox News polls showing his declining levels of approval and threats against protesters who may gather outside his Oklahoma rally.
By Friday, 11:30 a.m., the president hadn't tweeted anything to recognize Juneteenth. The White House released a statement commemorating the holiday.
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First Lady Melania Trump released a video on Friday for June 19, the holiday marking the end of US slavery, while President Donald Trump tweeted about his Saturday rally in Oklahoma and threatened protesters.
"While our country is working through the racial problems we still face today, it is important to remember that we are a global community," said the First Lady, sitting in a gilded room in the White House. "Let us all agree that all the differences we have should be celebrated and learned from."
She mentioned her 2018 trip to Ghana, where she visited the House of Slaves, a memorial to the Atlantic slave trade. And read a picture book titled "All Different Now" by Angela Johnson about the first celebration of June 19.
Today we celebrate June 19, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. In honor of today I would like to share the story "All Different Now" by Angela Johnson, which sheds light on the first June of the 19th century, the eyes of a young girl.
3:00 p.m. - June 19, 2020
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30.2K people talk about it
By Friday, 11:30 a.m., the president had not released a Twitter statement recognizing Juneteenth. Instead, he spent the morning tweeting about his upcoming election rally in Tulsa, attacking Fox News polls, which saw his approval rate drop, and threatening protesters who might gather outside his rally.
"All protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who go to Oklahoma please understand that you will not be treated as you were in New York, Seattle or Minneapolis. It will be a very different scene!" he wrote.
Trump was pressured to push back his controversial rally in Oklahoma a day amid controversy over his original decision to hold the June 19 event at the Tulsa massacre in 1921, the deadliest mass murder of black Americans in the history of the UNITED STATES.
On Thursday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president incorrectly claimed that "nobody had heard of Juneteenth before this year" when he made the holiday "very famous".
"I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous," said Trump. "It's actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it."
The White House issued a statement on June 19 on Friday morning.
"This June 19, as a nation, we are committed to living up to our highest ideals and always working towards a freer, stronger country that values the dignity and limitless potential of all Americans," the statement said.
Juneteenth, which has been celebrated since 1866, commemorates the day in 1865 when more than 250,000 enslaved black Texans were informed by a Union general that they had been freed. This happened more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's declaration of emancipation entered into force on January 1, 1863, in which enslaved blacks were liberated in many states. Slavery would not be officially abolished in the United States until the 13th amendment was passed in December 1865.
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