During the White House press briefing on Juneteenth, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared Trump’s words on the day of commemoration, and addressed questions about the upcoming Tulsa rally, the DACA ruling, and Trump’s fake video. Candy Chan reports on what happened. 

On Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, President Trump wanted to share a few words. Through Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, he calls Juneteenth “both a remembrance of a blight on our history and a celebration of our nation’s unsurpassed ability to triumph over darkness that ability is rooted in the fundamental goodness of America.” 

McEnany started the press briefing with some positive news: “the Great American comeback is underway,” she said. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has fallen in 43 states in May as Americans resume work. This report from McEnany follows the release of predictions from the Congressional Budget Office and economist Ed Hyman that the GDP will reach pre-COVID-19 numbers in 2021.

There is also good news in the search for a treatment for COVID-19, with the usage of dexamethasone, commonly known as steroids, shown to help save severely ill patients, as found in preliminary findings by UK scientists.

Tulsa Rally: McEnany will not be wearing a mask

McEnany fielded several questions about Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be held on Saturday. 

On Friday, Trump issued a tweet to “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” that should they attend the rally, they will not be “treated like [they] have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis.” 

In the press briefing, McEnany clarified that Trump was referring only to violent protesters, following Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum’s order that said “individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior in other States are planning to travel to the City of Tulsa for purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally.” 

Trump’s threat is for “violent protesters, anarchists, looters, the kind of lawlessness that we saw play out before President Trump came in with the National Guard and calmed our streets with law and order,” said McEnany.

The Tulsa rally will proceed despite several concerns from health officials calling it a “super spreader” event. Now in Phase 3 of reopening, this week Tulsa reported its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since March. 

Trump’s threat is for “violent protesters, anarchists, looters, the kind of lawlessness that we saw play out before President Trump came in with the National Guard and calmed our streets with law and order,” said McEnany.

McEnany assured reporters that the Trump campaign will be distributing hand sanitizer and masks, for those who choose to wear it, and that they will administer temperature checks. She herself will not be wearing a mask, despite being advised by CDC guidelines. 

“It’s a personal decision I’ve tested regularly and I feel that it’s safe for me not to be wearing a mask,” said McEnany.

McEnany: Democrats really seem to be using the DACA recipients as pawns

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that Trump cannot immediately end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is not deterring the President from trying. On Friday Trump promised to continue his effort to terminate the Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. 

Trump told McEnany “I’m going to take care of DACA far better than the Democrats ever did. Democrats had two and a half years to make a deal on DACA, they didn’t do it.”

McEnany said “We’re going to move forward in a responsible way and cure some of the remedies and the lawfulness that we see with the previous memo that brought DACA into place.” 

Trump’s determination to end DACA, a program that protects about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation and allows them to find employment, has garnered criticism from many. In light of the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement urging Trump to “strongly reconsider terminating DACA, saying that “this action needlessly places many families in further anxiety, and chaos.”

But to Trump and McEnany, DACA is a failure on the Democrats’ end. Trump told McEnany “I’m going to take care of DACA far better than the Democrats ever did. Democrats had two and a half years to make a deal on DACA, they didn’t do it.”

McEnany continues that Trump has offered deals to Democrats that have been rejected. In 2019, there was talk of an arrangement between the President and congressional Democrats to connect funding for Trump’s wall at the border with permanent protections for DACA recipients, ultimately, the deal fell through.

McEnany said, “Democrats really seem to be using the DACA recipients as pawns, and that is despicable.”

Trump Campaign’s Fake Video

On Thursday, Trump tweeted a video of two toddlers, one white and one Black, running down a sidewalk. The video had been altered to look like a CNN news segment, with the caption “Terrified baby runs from racist baby” and “Racist baby probably a Trump voter.” Towards the end of the video, the ‘truth’ is revealed that the two toddlers are friends, warning viewers of the danger of fake news. Trump’s tweet against fake news was flagged by Twitter for containing “manipulated media”—fake news.

When CNN’s Jim Acosta asked about the video, saying it seems as if Trump is “exploiting children,” McEnany replied, “He was making a point about CNN specifically. He was making a point that CNN has regularly taken him out of context.”

McEnany referenced an incident in 2019 in which CNN aired a viral video of a Covington Catholic High School student out of context, with whom they eventually settled in a lawsuit. Still evading the question of whether or not Trump’s video exploited the children, McEnany said, “I think the President was making a satirical point that was quite funny if you go and actually watch the video.”

Trump’s video was sourced from a popular pro-Trump meme creator with the username CarpeDonktum. The parent of the toddler featured in the video has forced Facebook to take down the video and has requested the same from Twitter.

Candy Chan

Candy Chan is studying History with a focus on War and Revolution at Barnard College. She is currently a staff writer at the Columbia Daily Spectator, covering issues pertaining to Columbia's...