Most of the thousands of people who attended Tuesday night’s rally at Eppley Airfield in Omaha parked in secluded lots and were bused to the event. Police said 40 buses were used to transport 25,000 people to the event site over a 10-hour period, starting at 10 a.m., although an undisclosed number was left before the rally ended, police said.
Traffic became muddled and the waiting buses – which can seat around 50 passengers each – were overwhelmed as crowds left the event around 9 p.m., police said. Additional buses were called in to try and get people to their cars.
WATCH | Hundreds of people left behind after Trump rally:
Police said the last of the rally participants was able to leave around midnight.
Trump’s Deputy National Press Secretary Samantha Zager said in a statement that the 40 shuttles deployed by the event were double the number usually deployed at Trump campaign rallies, but that “local road closures and the resulting congestion caused delays ”.
“Instead of departing guests, we had tents, heaters, generators, hot chocolate and hand warmers for guests to use,” Zager said. “We always strive to provide the best customer experience at our events and care about their safety.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden used the image of Omaha supporters left out in the cold after the rally on Wednesday to criticize Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an image that captured President Trump’s whole approach to this crisis,” Biden said.