More than three months and 113,000 American deaths later, President Donald Trump has announced his return to the campaign trail for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak forced most of the country into quarantine in March.
The US might be the worst hit nation in the world by Covid-19 – the disease ramping up again even as states move out of lockdown – and currently in the "throes of a reckoning" over systemic racism following the death of George Floyd. But according to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, "Americans are ready to get back to action."
"The Great American Comeback is real and the rallies will be tremendous," Parscale said earlier this week. "You'll again see the kinds of crowds and enthusiasm that Sleepy Joe Biden can only dream of."
In an interview with Fox News, Trump had also urged people to consider the rally a "celebration".
"Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration," he told host Harris Faulkner.
The stage for Trump's so-called "Great American Comeback" is set in the deep-red state of Oklahoma, at what the President has called a "beautiful new venue, brand new" in the city of Tulsa, which moved into the third stage of its post-coronavirus reopening on June 1.
"Tulsans have managed one of the first successful reopenings in the nation," Tulsa mayor GT Bynum told Newsweek in a statement, "so we can only guess that may be the reason President Trump selected Tulsa as a rally site".
Amid the outrage over the police killing of Floyd, however, Tulsa's "successful reopening" may not be the only reason the President chose it as the destination, and June 19 as the initial date for his first mega rally since the pandemic began.
And after many pointed out the details were a "white supremacist's dog whistle", Trump announced he would shift the date from Juneteenth to the following day, June 20, on the advice of his "African-American friends and supporters".
"We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th – a big deal. Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday," the President tweeted yesterday.
"Many of my African-American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of the respect for this holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents."
The rally's original date – known as Juneteenth – is the oldest holiday (in all but four states) celebrating the end of slavery, marking the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation. It's a day of symbolic significance to the struggle for black civil rights in America.
"In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice in the US has always been delayed for black people," a 2018 Vox piece reads.
"And now, as national attention remains focused on acts of police violence and various racial profiling incidents, it is clear that while progress has been made in black America's 150 years out of bondage, considerable barriers continue to impede that process."
And the destination – Tulsa – is the site of one of the worst acts of racist terror against black Americans in history, 99 years ago, when a white mob – with bombing support from private aircraft – attacked African-American residents in the city's Greenwood district, known as "Black Wall Street".
Curator of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Paul Gardullo, said the massacre was the result of the "threat that black power, black economic power, black cultural power, black success posed to individuals and the whole system of white supremacy".
"Throughout American history there's been a vast silence about the atrocities that were performed in the service of white history. There are a lot of silences in relation to this story, and a lot of guilt and shame," he said.
As many as 300 were killed, millions in property was destroyed, and some 10,000 black Oklahomans were left homeless.
"It's possible that Trump, never a student of history – let alone of the country's long register of horrific acts of violence against black Americans – may not be aware of the confluence of the two details," a piece for The Intelligencer reads.
And yet Trump, who has called himself not only the "least racist person that you have ever met" but the leader who "has done more for the black community than any President since Abraham Lincoln", has acknowledged Juneteenth on numerous occasions, clearly aware of the day's significance long before he rescheduled the rally.
"As the party of Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth," Trump campaign adviser Katrin Pierson wrote, in response to a Bloomberg reporter.
His country may have descended into chaos over the treatment of and lack of equality for African-Americans, but according to Pierson, "President Trump has built a record of success for black Americans, including unprecedented low unemployment prior to the global pandemic, all-time high funding for historically black colleges and universities, and criminal justice reform".
This coming from the same President who, let's not forget, has a history of making racially-charged comments at rallies, calling African nations "****hole countries" and saying there were fine people on "both sides" in response to white supremacists gathering in Charlottesville in 2017. And more recently, dubbed protesters – despite many of them being peaceful – "thugs".
"It's also possible that someone in an administration that has defined itself on law and order is aware of the message of holding a rally on a prominent black holiday in a city known for one of the nation's single most destructive acts of racist violence for a president who encouraged the shooting of demonstrators in black neighbourhoods," The Intelligencer article read.
Factor in the rumour that prominent White House white nationalist, Stephen Miller, lined the whole thing up and is drafting the speech Trump will give at the rally, and it tells you all you need to know.
So while the Juneteenth rally might have signalled for the Trump campaign a return to normalcy after months of turmoil, as Vanity Fair pointed out it "seems designed to exacerbate both crises gripping the nation: the pandemic, and the upheaval over racism and policing".