WASHINGTON • Donald Trump supporters who attend the US President’s upcoming election rally must sign a waiver promising not to sue if they catch Covid-19 at the event, according to his campaign website.
The Republican billionaire announced on Wednesday that he would resume his campaign rallies in four states – Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina – despite the coronavirus pandemic that continues to rage in the US.
More than 116,000 people have died in the country of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while more than two million cases have been recorded.
In Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, the number of infections has even started to rise again.
Trump supporters must sign a waiver on his campaign website to register for the first of the rallies, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19.
“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 waiver states.
“By attending the rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19 and agree not to hold” the Trump campaign, or any of its affiliates, contractors or employees responsible, it continues.
The page makes no mention of other measures to control spread of the virus, such as wearing masks.
The rally will be Trump’s first since the pandemic forced most of the country into lockdown three months ago, a campaign official said on Wednesday. Polls have shown former vice-president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, establishing a substantial lead over Mr Trump.
The Tulsa rally has already ignited controversy as America grapples with weeks of unrest and protests against racism and police brutality following the killing of an African-American man, Mr George Floyd, while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Tulsa was the site of a racist massacre in 1921 when a mob of whites killed hundreds of African Americans in a thriving black neighbourhood in the city, while June 19 – “Juneteenth” – marks “Freedom Day” celebrating the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.
California Senator Kamala Harris, whose name is among those being touted as a possible running mate for Mr Biden in November, slammed the rally as a “welcome home party” for white supremacists.
The White House responded on Thursday, saying Juneteenth was a “meaningful day” for Mr Trump and that he wanted to use the occasion to share the progress made for black Americans.
Mr Biden has not yet announced a resumption of campaign rallies.
Republicans are expected to move their national convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, after Mr Trump told officials in North Carolina that he would not abide by social distancing measures, according to three senior Republicans.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES