In a rare conciliatory gesture, President Donald Trump announced late Friday night that he is rescheduling a campaign rally that was slated to take place in Tulsa on Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
The announcement of the rally sparked an uproar earlier this week because of Tulsa's history as the site of one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the nation's history: the 1921 massacre of hundreds of African Americans who were attacked by a white mob that looted and burned many black-owned businesses and homes in the Greenwood District, a neighborhood that was then known as "Black Wall Street."
Holding a rally on that day was viewed as yet another affront by Trump, who has so far refused to engage in any meaningful way in the profound conversation about systematic racism unfolding in this country.
After weeks of divisive rhetoric and demands for the nation's governors to "dominate" the protesters in the streets with military force if necessary, Trump's Twitter announcement Friday night fell short of an apology but marked a notable shift in tone.
Trump's retreat followed several weeks in which he has failed to rise to a moment of profound cultural change in America. While he has held several roundtables with African American leaders following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, his instinct has been to ignore the national reckoning over race rather than lead it.
His message has instead centered on the need for "law and order" and his bizarre assertion in Dallas this week that the problems of bigotry and prejudice in America can be resolved "quickly" and "very easily."
And instead of using this pivotal moment to expand his outreach -- an imperative for his reelection campaign as his rival Joe Biden widens his lead in national polls -- Trump has traveled to comfortable venues in states that are largely not in play in November.