Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a fiery condemnation of Donald Trump in Tulsa the day before his rally in the city, telling protesters that it was they whose protests would make America great.
The 65-year-old civil rights activist said he had received death threats for being in Oklahoma, but told the crowd that they are the ones who will change America for the better.
Donald Trump will hold his own rally in the city on Saturday – his first election campaign since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sharpton made fun of the president’s campaign slogan.
“This is why I am perplexed in front of people who say” Make America even more beautiful, “he said.
“I want them to give me the date America was great for everyone.”
Al Sharpton traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to speak on June 19 and see the Trump rally
65-year-old former presidential candidate fiercely berated Donald Trump
Sharpton told the crowd, unless Trump comes to Tulsa with police brutality policies, he shouldn’t come at all. He mocked the president for his organization on June 19
He continued, his voice rising to a crescendo: “ We are the ones – the ones who walked in Selma, the ones who walk everywhere – we are the ones who will make America great for everyone, for the first time.
“ Greatness is when blacks and whites, Latinos and Asians and Native Americans take to the streets across the country and walk against your tear gas and walk against your rubber bullets and walk against your military occupation, you threaten anyway. ”
Sharpton said before his rally that he had received death threats.
At a hastily organized press event about 90 minutes before the event, organizers said Sharpton was “ very concerned ” about his safety and that it had been suggested that Sharpton’s appearance be canceled , and maybe the rest of the festival itself.
The rally proceeded as planned, however, with Sharpton presented by Tiffany Crutcher, whose brother Terence Crutcher was killed by Tulsa police in September 2016 while he was unarmed near his car.
Reverend Al Sharpton is flanked by Reverend Robert Turner, on the left, and Tiffany Crutcher, on the right, as he remarks at a June 19 celebration in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood.
Crowds gathered in Tulsa to hear Sharpton speak before President’s rally on Saturday
“I don’t care about threats,” said Sharpton at one point in his speech.
Sharpton was speaking at celebrations on June 19 in the city’s Greenwood neighborhood – the site of the 1921 massacre of wealthy black residents of Tulsa at the hands of a white crowd.
Juneteenth commemorates the date that Texas slaves finally received the news of the emancipation proclamation.
He was mocking Trump for not knowing the significance of the date – Trump had originally scheduled his rally on June 19, but changed it to Saturday amid an uproar.
“The president announced his arrival on June 19. I didn’t know it was Juneteenth, ” said Sharpton.
Trump supporters camped in Tulsa on Friday before President’s rally on Saturday
Trump supporter awaits Saturday rally, expected to draw large crowds
Sharpton said that New York-born Trump grew up in a city where two-thirds of the population was African-American or Latino.
The former presidential candidate said that Trump’s apparent ignorance of the date was the result of a “ callous and isolated ” life or, he said, “ he is lying. ”
Sharpton said Trump was “too culturally deficient to address this country as head of state.”
The Baptist minister also challenged Trump’s claims to do more than any other president to help the African American community, saying that many of the things Trump claimed to have accomplished, such as reducing unemployment, were the result of the policy of Barack Obama.
“You have just surfed the wave,” said Sharpton.
Trump supporters have been coming to the city for days, and many camped on Friday to be the first to line up for the 19,000-seat Bok Arena.
The rally raised concerns about the possible spread of the coronavirus, but Trump and his team made progress.
Sharpton challenged Trump to use his rally on Saturday to define specific policies regarding racism and police brutality.
“If you come to Tulsa and can’t say anything concrete (on these issues), then don’t say anything at all.”