Trump is restarting his rallies — but the warning label says it's your fault if you get COVID-19
President Donald Trump is restarting his campaign rallies, which have been canceled since March because of the pandemic. On June 19, he'll hold an event at the BOK Center, an indoor sports arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, despite the ongoing risk of COVID-19.
But even though Trump himself is downplaying the dangers of the virus, it seems the lawyers on his campaign are hyper-aware of the legal risks. In a note on the page to buy tickets for the event, the Trump campaign warns attendees:
By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.
It's ironic that this bit of legal hedging may be better public health advice than anything Trump had actually spoken publicly.
In many ways, Trump's rallies seem like the worst-case scenario for spreading the coronavirus. They're often indoors with people crowded in close together, yelling and cheering for the president. It's doubtful they'll be many opportunities for social distancing, and given Trump's own public aversion to wearing a mask, his fans will likely have their faces uncovered. It's fertile ground for the virus to spread.
But it seems the existence of the recent Black Lives Matter protests — and the minimal objections to these events from the people most concerned about the virus — could provide cover for the president's recklessness. Nevertheless, there are two ways in which protests tend to be safer — though certainly not safe — compared to the typical Trump rally. A vast majority of attendees seem to be wearing masks, based on footage of the protests. And they mostly take place outdoors, where experts believe it's less likely for the virus to spread.
Clearly, though, Trump is uninterested in the ongoing pandemic, and he has urged the country to open up even despite the advice from public health experts. His rush to return to rallies is based on his own impatience, not the best scientific evidence. He wants to pretend the virus is gone.
That is, up until the moment that there's any risk to him. Then he'll require that you agree to waive your rights to sue him if he knowingly puts you in danger.