House Democrat introduces bill to prevent Trump campaign from requiring COVID-19 liability waivers at rallies

A new bill introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanCapitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election MORE (D-Wis.) would prevent President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE's reelection campaign from issuing liability waivers protecting it from lawsuits should supporters attend a rally and contract the coronavirus.

Pocan, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, named the legislation the Refusal to Accept Losses or Liability In Every Situation Act (Rallies) Act.

The bill would ban enforcement of liability waivers for indoor gatherings of 1,000 people or more in localities where the number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing in the preceding 14 days.


Trump's campaign is set to hold a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, which will be the first since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The webpage for guests to sign up for free tickets asks that they acknowledge an "inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present" and agree not to hold the campaign or other entities involved in the rally liable for any illness or injury.

"As we see cases continue to rise — including over 300 new cases in Tulsa County over the last week alone — this president wants the right to endanger thousands of people at an indoor stadium with impunity. We refuse to let a candidate for re-election threaten the lives of the people of this country for political gain," Pocan said in a statement.

Pocan also sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield on Friday asking if he believed states and localities should permit large indoor public events, especially if the participants are not following health guidelines for social distancing or wearing facial coverings. Pocan's office said Tuesday that he has still not received a response from the CDC.

The director of Tulsa's health department raised concerns over the weekend about the Trump campaign's plans to hold the rally and warned that the city is experiencing a “significant increase in our case trends” that could make a large gathering like a rally risky for attendees and the president.


The Trump campaign said Monday that each rally guest would receive a temperature check, hand sanitizer and a mask before entering the arena. Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBrad ParscaleAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report MORE said that there have been more than 1 million ticket requests for the Tulsa rally at the BOK Center, which can hold up to 19,000 people.

Trump defended his plans to hold the rally by pointing to the nationwide protests against police brutality in recent weeks, which have been supported by Democratic lawmakers.

“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!” Trump tweeted.

The demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody, have largely been held outdoors, which is considered to be at least somewhat less risky for coronavirus exposure than an indoor location.

And while many demonstrators have been wearing facial coverings, the size of the crowds has often not been conducive for everyone to remain at least six feet apart in accordance with public health guidelines.


Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPompeo to host indoor holiday parties at State Department despite warning to employees to hold some missions virtually Obama says he may take coronavirus vaccine on TV to build trust in it McEnany hits Democratic leaders for not following their own COVID-19 restrictions MORE, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has warned that gathering in any large group during the pandemic, no matter the reason, is "risky."

"You know, it's a danger to the people who are trying to control the demonstration," Fauci told ABC News last week. "And it's a danger to the people who are demonstrating. So at the end of the day, it is a risky procedure."

Fauci confirmed that his advice also applies to Trump campaign rallies. "I am consistent. I stick by what I say," he said.