President Trump will hold an indoor rally on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to Trump’s campaign manager, more than 1 million people have requested free tickets for the event at a venue that holds around 19,000 people.
Those requesting free tickets had to sign a waiver agreeing that the campaign and other parties associated with the event cannot be held liable for exposure to the coronavirus. However, the waiver applies only to legal liability, not to the political kind.
It’s easy to imagine that every major media outlet in America will assign at least one reporter to search for rally attendees who contract the Wuhan coronavirus. If even one attendees dies, we’ll never hear the end of it, and the political fallout might be more than trivial.
The prospect of illness, and even death, may not be far-fetched. Last Friday, the Tulsa County Health Department reported 71 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, topping the previous high single-day total of 65.
Investigators reportedly linked the outbreak to indoor gatherings where large groups of people congregate for prolonged periods, although it actually be more closely linked to new cases at a Whirlpool plant and to outdoor protests over the killing of George Floyd. Either way, the virus is definitely present in Tulsa.
Speaking of those outdoor protest rallies, Trump today tweeted:
The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!
He has a point. However, it probably won’t be a politically effective one if death or serious illness can be linked to his indoor rally. Trump isn’t running against rioters and looters, he’s running against Joe Biden, who hasn’t held any rallies.
In light of the potential health and political risk, the Trump campaign is taking steps to minimize the likelihood that the president’s rally will spread the virus. Those who attend will be given temperature checks, hand sanitizer, and face masks before they enter.
If these measures are followed and attendees wear the mask, there may be little reason to fear that the virus will spread. At the same time, there’s very little reason to believe that a June rally in Oklahoma, which Trump carried by 36 points in 2016, will have any effect on the outcome of this year’s election.