Trump rally attendees must agree not to sue campaign over potential coronavirus exposure

Caitlin Oprysko

Supporters of President Donald Trump will soon be able to attend one of his signature, raucous campaign rallies again after a monthslong hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic — but first, they must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus after the event.

The Trump campaign on Thursday sent out registration information for the president’s first rally since March, with the campaign’s chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, proclaiming that there is “no better place” to restart rallies than Tulsa, Okla.

But the fine print on the registration page for the June 19 event underscores the continued health risks associated with reviving the “Make America Great Again” rallies, which pack thousands of supporters into arenas for hours at a time — doors for next week’s rally open four hours before Trump is set to begin, for instance.

Right above a red “register” button on the page, the site includes a short disclaimer, informing attendees that “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.”

The disclaimer goes on to warn that by attending the rally, attendees and their guests “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to hold the campaign, Tulsa’s BOK Center or a slew of other related parties “liable for any illness or injury.”

The page makes no mention of any social-distancing requirements or other safety precautions that will be in place at the rally, nor does it note the CDC’s recommendation that Americans wear face coverings while indoors in situations where social distancing might be difficult.

Trump had taken baby steps toward resuming rallies in recent weeks, as he began to venture outside the White House to visit manufacturing plants related to the pandemic, convening roundtables and speaking to workers in settings that mirrored the political rallies on a smaller scale — down to the playlist.

The president’s decision to restart his campaign rallies, first reported by POLITICO last week, raised eyebrows as the coronavirus continues to rage throughout the country.

Some in Trump’s circle maintain that “if he’s telling the world it’s OK to get back to your life, at some point he has to get back to his life,” while others point out that Democrats’ lack of objection to recent mass nationwide protests over police brutality make it more difficult to criticize the rallies. But the resumption comes as a raft of recent polling shows the president falling behind former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, just five months out from the election.

Still, this week has seen spikes in coronavirus cases in more than a dozen states — with more increases possible over the next few weeks after the protests — while more governors continue to push forward with plans to reopen the economy after months of virus-related shutdowns. Cases in Oklahoma began to spike earlier this month, though health officials there told local media the increase was within the range of expectation as the state began to reopen.

“President Trump is fired up and ready to rebuild, restore, and renew the American Dream. There’s no doubt that the Great American Comeback is here,” Glassner, the campaign executive, said in a statement announcing next week’s rally in Tulsa. “We are looking forward to the tremendous crowds and enthusiasm behind President Trump.”