Trump demands election rally attendees sign disclaimer over Covid-19 risk

US president Donald Trump has demanded that those attending his first election rally of the summer, must sign a declaimer stating they will not sue his campaign if they contract coronavirus, amid fears that America could be braced for a second wave of infections.

The Donald Trump re-election campaign announced details of Mr Trump’s first rally since the coronavirus pandemic shut wide swathes of the country, which will take place on June 19th in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those who want to attend the event are obliged to click a box on the campaign website “acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

The disclaimer reads: “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.”

The move by the Trump re-election campaign comes as the US president has vowed to hold a series of rallies in, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Texas in the coming weeks, despite the ongoing threat from Covid-19.

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has passed 2 million, and public health experts have warned of a possible second wave, as states ease social distancing restrictions. Southern states like Texas and Arizona, who refrained from strict lockdown measures in the early days of the crisis have been reporting a rise in cases in recent weeks. More than 20 states have reported a rise in infection.

Mr Trump’s decision to hold his first rally in Tulsa was controversial, given that June 19th is traditionally a date that marks the end of slavery in the United States. Tulsa was also the site of one of the most infamous instances of racial violence in US history when hundreds of African-Americans were massacred.

Also on Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced that it would move most of the Republican convention to Jacksonville, Florida, following a feud between Mr Trump and North Carolina’s Democratic governor Roy Cooper. The Republican Party had been scheduled to hold its late-August convention in Charlotte, but Mr Cooper has been unable to guarantee that the gathering can take place as planned due to social distancing restrictions.

“Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020,” said RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.” Because of contractual obligations, some of the event will be held in Charlotte, though Mr Trump will accept the nomination in Jacksonville. Florida, with its 29 electoral college votes, is likely to be a key battleground in November’s presidential election.

Use of force on protesters

As the debate over police reform continued in the United States following the death of African-American George Floyd, Mr Trump praised the use of force to dispel protesters in Minneapolis last week – the city where Mr Floyd (46) died on May 25th after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes.