Seven people were hospitalized after attendees of a late-night Trump rally at an airport in Omaha, Nebraska, found themselves stranded in the cold.
Much of the crowd, estimated in the thousands, remained at the site waiting for buses hours after Trump’s plane left, according to reporters at the scene. Temperatures outside were about freezing.
The problem was blamed on the limited traffic on the two-lane road that led to the rally site.
If you are expecting someone who has attended the @realDonaldTrump rally in #Omaha, it may take some time for them to get on and off a bus. Traffic along the small road to the private side of Eppley airfield is backed up and buses were struggling to pass. We saw this: pic.twitter.com/DTRKnH5lkb
– Aaron Sanderford (@asanderford) October 28, 2020
The Washington Post reported that Trump supporters were stranded after the president spoke at Eppley Airfield in Omaha. He said many older Trump supporters were among those stranded.
Omaha police said in a written statement that first responders treated 30 people medically throughout the day and seven were sent to hospital.
Thousands of people left behind in the cold and stranded #Omaha, #Nebraska after a #Asset rally. I am told that the shuttles are not working and that there are not enough buses. The police didn’t seem to know what to do. Some have walked. I saw at least one woman receiving medical treatment. pic.twitter.com/oIkmixaZt0
– Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) October 28, 2020
Police monitoring sites on social media reported that some people suffered the ill effects of temperatures hovering around 30F (-1C) as they waited for shuttles or attempted to reach their cars more than two miles afterward. the rally.
“Many people underestimated the distance between the event and the parking lot on foot,” Officer Michael Pecha, spokesperson for the Omaha police, said in the statement.
Police said 40 buses were used to transport 25,000 people over a 10-hour period, starting at 10 a.m., to the event site, although an undisclosed number was left before the rally ended. police said.
Traffic became muddled and waiting buses that could accommodate 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.
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 “local road closures and the resulting congestion caused delays,” she said.
“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.
Trump was in Omaha because he shares a media market with much of Iowa, where the president appears to be behind Biden despite winning the state in 2016 by nearly 19 points. Further, Nebraska divides its electoral votes by Congressional district – Maine does too, but all other states are the winner-takes-all – and the second Douglas County congressional district that votes strongly for Biden, potentially giving away to the Democrat his electoral vote, as he did for Obama in 2008.