Before President Donald Trump took the stage at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday night, his campaign required attendees to agree to a coronavirus waiver when they registered. The Trump re-election campaign website told his supporters they were deciding not to sue Trump, the campaign or the venue if they contracted COVID-19 while attending the event. The waiver was met with some shock and laughter on social media.
When Trump supporters clicked "register" on the campaign's website last week, they were told that by doing so, they were "acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present." By going to the event, "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."
The rally was initially scheduled for Friday but was pushed to Saturday after critics pointed out that Friday was Juneteenth, a celebration marking the emancipation of slaves. Trump has also said he plans to hold rallies in North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, all states that have seen an increase in coronavirus cases while their governments lift restrictions on businesses and large gatherings.
The virus is gone! Come to a rally! Clap for Trump! But first real quick sign this waiver saying you won’t sue us if you get sick and die. MAGA!— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) June 12, 2020
The BOK Center has 19,000 seats and the Trump campaign expected there to be so many supporters they would need an "overflow" area for supporters who could not get in. However, they overestimated attendance. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to take to an outdoor stage to speak, but it was canceled. The Secret Service even set up a stage with a bullet-proof pane in front of a lectern Trump would use, but the stage had to be taken apart without anyone using it. Shots of the venue inside showed plenty of seats still available as Trump spoke. Most of the venue's upper-deck was empty.prevnext
If coronavirus is a liberal hoax, why do you have to sign a coronavirus waiver to attend a Trump rally?— Travis Allen 🇺🇸 (@TravisAllen02) June 13, 2020
Trump's campaign blamed canceling the overflow event on protesters. "Sadly, protestors interfered with supporters, even blocking access to the metal detectors, which prevented people from entering the rally," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to NPR. Radical protestors, coupled with a relentless onslaught from the media, attempted to frighten off the President's supporters. We are proud of the thousands who stuck it out."prevnext
If Trump thought rallies were safe, he wouldn't force attendees to sign a waiver.
The fact is, he doesn't care if people die. He only cares about being sued.— Leslie on a Pike 🐟 (@Leslieoo7) June 12, 2020
During the rally, Trump downplayed the coronavirus pandemic. He even admitted to asking his administration to slow testing so the number of coronavirus cases and called for schools to reopen in the fall. "COVID. To be specific, COVID-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus," the president said. "We - I - did a phenomenal job with it." Trump hypothesized that a doctor would call "sniffles" from a 10-year-old a "case" of coronavirus.prevnext
Great turn out! Guess people aren’t as stupid as you thought they were! And those that signed a ridiculous waiver to not sue trump if you catch the Covid virus I hope that list is sent to all the hospitals to make sure those idiots are denied hospital treatment. pic.twitter.com/TOCZ8yJi4b— London Knows (@PSDragon64) June 21, 2020
There are now over 2.25 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Saturday night, reports Johns Hopkins University. Over 119,000 Americans have died from complications of COVID-19. More than 617,000 have recovered from the illness. Just over 26 million Americans have been tested.prevnext
Reminder: Despite Trump dismissing the threat of #COVID19, every person at the rally was required to sign a legal waiver to “assume all risks” of coronavirus exposure and agree not to sue the campaign if they get infected. https://t.co/yodRcKNeXl— Rosa Hwang (@journorosa) June 21, 2020