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COVID-19 Waivers at Trump Rallies Endanger Public Health

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Trump Rally

Note: As President Donald Trump resumes indoor rallies, his campaign has implemented a new policy that attendees cannot sue if they contract the virus at the event.

At a time when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against large gatherings, the Trump campaign aims to resume large-scale, indoor rallies. Such rallies are extremely likely to spread the coronavirus, particularly if Trump discourages attendees from wearing masks either explicitly or by example.

The Trump campaign may have shied away from such a move if it could be held accountable for the resulting illness and potential deaths that are likely to follow. Instead, it aims to escape liability and any measure of accountability by forcing attendees to waive their rights through contract terms that they are unlikely even to notice.

Immunity from lawsuits encourages irresponsible and reckless behavior, and undermines public health, as the Trump campaign is now shamefully making clear. Congress must learn from the bad Trump campaign example and protect the rights of workers, patients and consumers. That means no immunity for businesses and entities that engage in unreasonable conduct that endangers people by exposing them to the coronavirus.