President Donald Trump announced this week that he was going to have his first major political rally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The event is set for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He and his campaign have made it clear that they do not believe that the concerns over the spread of the virus at a large gathering should preclude coming together.
Many of the campaign's backers have also noted that the president's detractors — largely on the left — suddenly rediscovered their worries about the spread COVID-19 at what is likely to be a massive gathering. Anti-Trumpers spent weeks of ignoring the disease's dangers while protests and riots went on around the nation following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But how confident is the Trump campaign that there's nothing to worry about?
The campaign's website warns would-be rallygoers that there is a COVID-19 exposure risk if they come to the rally and that the campaign and the venue will not be held responsible if people contract the virus.
What's going on?
Health experts have repeatedly warned Americans that large gatherings are dangerous in these days of the coronavirus pandemic and that these groups exacerbate the risk of spreading the disease.
But as we all know, those warnings have been ignored by people on both ends of the political spectrum — and in between.
Experts warned about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases when Wisconsinites were going out to vote April 7. But there was no spike.
When the coronavirus oracles saw the huge crowds at Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend, they were appalled and warned about a coming spike in COVID-19 cases. But health officials found no new cases linked to the partiers.
Pro-lockdown partisans attacked gatherings of citizens marching to demand the reopening of the economy, like the famous Michigan protests that garnered so much hate and ridicule from the left.
The ire from many on the left against those who want to be able to gather for worship services has been an ongoing source of tension.
But hypocrisy was soon to rear its head.
In the wake of the horrific death of George Floyd, the frantic warnings against public gatherings suddenly went quiet as protesters took to the street to peacefully demonstrate for police reforms — and as rioters destroyed businesses, burned buildings, and took over several blocks of a major American city.
But this week, President Trump was able to get his critics to once again remember the seriousness of the coronavirus by announcing the June 19 Tulsa rally.
And though the president's team rightfully mocked Trump's opponents' two-facedness — perhaps most notably Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who, just days after speaking at a major George Floyd "Hope and Healing" rally, ripped the president's planned rallies as "irresponsible and selfish" — they did add a COVID-19 warning to the campaign website's rally registration.
Anyone who wants to get tickets to the Tulsa rally will see this note on the site's signup page:
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. 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.
Image source: DonaldJTrump.com screenshot
The move could be merely a legal CYA move for the campaign and the venue. Or it could be an admission that maybe large public gatherings aren't as safe as some would have us believe.
Jury's still out since getting a straight and consistent answer about anything COVID-related is a challenge.
(H/T: Westport News)