Attorney General Eric Holder has canceled a speech planned for Thursday in Oklahoma City amid planned protests from local groups opposed to the Obama administration’s policies.
While the Justice Department said the speech to new officers entering the Oklahoma City Police Department was canceled due to an unexpected schedule change, the attorney general has been the subject of protests in Oklahoma.
In fact, local elected officials said hundreds of people had planned to demonstrate the attorney general’s presence. They said they wanted to bring attention to the fact that Holder was held in contempt of Congress in 2012 for failing to turn over records to a House of Representatives committee regarding the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious.
Like President Obama, the attorney general has been particularly unpopular in Oklahoma, a deeply conservative state.
“The fact is that Eric Holder should have been welcomed here with open arms by the people of Oklahoma,” said Kevin C. Cox, a longtime Democratic member of the state’s House of Representatives and a leading African-American leader in the state, speaking with BET.com.
“But this is the reddest of red states,” Cox said. “This is an ultra-conservative state and, to be honest, anything that is associated with President Obama and the Obama administration is going to be viewed negatively by many people here.”
To underscore that point, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Turner, a Republican, said that it was better for Holder not to speak in Oklahoma City.
"A lot of people just felt that it was very inappropriate for this man, with his track record, to speak to law enforcement officers that demand and expect to be backed up by the government working on behalf of the citizens, not against the citizens," said Turner, who is running for U.S. Congress, told the Washington Free Beacon.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)