Trump asks supporters not to sue if they catch virus at his rally

By: AFP      Published: 01:23 PM, 12 Jun, 2020
Trump asks supporters not to sue if they catch virus at his rally

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 113,000 people have died in the country of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new 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 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, 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 neighborhood 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 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in November, slammed the rally as a "welcome home party" for white supremacists.

The White House responded Thursday, saying Juneteenth was a "meaningful day" for Trump and that he wanted to use the occasion to share the progress made for black Americans. 

Biden has not yet announced a resumption of campaign rallies. 

Meanwhile, the United States has recorded another 941 coronavirus-related fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing the country's death toll so far to 113,774, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The world's top economy is the most affected by the pandemic in absolute terms, with both the highest number of deaths and the largest number of infections -- 2,021,990 at 8:30 pm Thursday (0030 GMT Friday), a tracker maintained by the Baltimore-based university showed. 

The US continues to register around 20,000 new cases of coronavirus each day, and is struggling to come down from that plateau as infection rates wax and wane around the country. 

In some more sparsely populated rural regions, the number of hospitalizations is climbing compared to a month ago. 

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday there will be no more shutdowns, even as the outbreak flares in some states.

"We can't shut down the economy. I think we've learned that if you shut down the economy, you're going to create more damage," Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC.