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President Trump will reportedly push toward the creation of a federal holiday for Juneteenth.

Ja’Ron Smith, a top administration adviser, told McClatchy DC on Thursday that the president had reversed his stance after previously declining to endorse a legislative effort earlier this year.

The June 19 holiday commemorates the cessation of slavery.


“The president listened to a lot of different stakeholders who have championed it being very important in the community,“ Smith said.

The president is set to give a speech in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday that Smith said would provide new details on the president’s agenda for Black America.

A stylized American Black Lives Matter flag flies during a Juneteenth rally, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Boston. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned in 1865 they were free, more than two years following the Emancipation Proclamation. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

A two-page document the Trump campaign shared with McClatchy DC listed efforts on criminal justice reform and health care, as well as the commitment to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

However, Smith said that while Juneteenth as a holiday is important, the “historic disparities are more important.”

“People want success and opportunity more so than a holiday, and so we didn’t want to do that just in a vacuum, because we thought that the disparities that the president is trying to fix are a lot more important than just declaring a holiday,” he said.

“So, we wanted to make sure that whatever platform we put out was holistic in nature, and that’s what the president’s going to deliver tomorrow,” Smith added.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had previously told McClatchy that an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery was under discussion at the White House.

Congress holds the power to create federal holidays, yet legislation introduced by lawmakers in both major parties has stalled.

Calls for the designation of the holiday increased over the summer amid nationwide protests for social justice and against racial inequality.

The Trump campaign had said the holiday would be part of President Trump’s “Platinum Plan.”


In his Friday remarks, the president will reportedly pledge to create 3 million new jobs for Black Americans; 500,000 new Black-owned businesses and $500 billion in access to capital in Black communities.

His campaign said he would meet those goals through tax and regulatory reforms and public-private partnerships.

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