President Donald Trump is trying to refocus America’s attention away from the past three months of incoherence in addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by firing up the Trump Train! The president’s poll numbers are sagging, and Americans are increasingly unhappy with not only the current state of affairs but where things appear to be headed. With few actual solutions to any real problems—and Trump himself is getting antsy without live crowds to incite—Trump World has decided to let the president limber up again in front of baying crowds starting next Friday, June 19, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump’s first pandemic rally at the 19,000-seat BOK Center seems destined to flout social distancing and mask-wearing norms that Trump never really believed in—or adhered to—anyway.
“I can’t have a rally with, you know, seven seats in between everybody,” Trump said last month. So what about those people that may well be jammed into those middle seven seats next Friday against the advice of the government that Trump heads? Well, according to the campaign, that’s on you, dear Trump supporter. To enshrine that, the campaign has included a waiver for its upcoming event—that will presumably be used throughout the remainder of the campaign—that absolves the campaign of liability if you happen to become ill at one of the president’s rallies.
“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 reads at the bottom of the ticket page on the Trump website. “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.”
“Oklahoma, a state Mr. Trump won four years ago by 36 percentage points, began lifting restrictions on businesses on April 24 and moved into Phase 3 of its reopening on June 1, allowing summer camps to open and workplaces to return with full staffing,” the New York Times notes. “The state’s infection numbers are steady but not falling. … But of the four states that the president announced this week as sites for rallies, three of them—Florida, Arizona and North Carolina—are seeing rising virus caseloads.”
For more of Slate’s news coverage, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.
Support Slate’s politics coverage
Slate is covering the stories that matter to you. Join Slate Plus to support our work. You’ll get unlimited articles and a suite of great benefits.