Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s fans were left stranded in freezing cold after gathering at one of his campaign rallies. Temperatures dropped below freezing as the crowd milled about waiting for buses to transport them to their cars, and several people were reportedly taken to the hospital. Some individuals didn’t get onto a bus until after midnight, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Air Force One left Eppley Airfield in Nebraska on Tuesday night after Trump’s speech ended at 9 p.m., but an hour later, hundreds of supporters were seen standing by the side of the road as they waited for busses to transport them to their vehicles, which were parked miles away.
According to Omaha Scanner, which monitors police and emergency radio traffic, at least seven individuals were taken to the hospital. Two people were seen by the Herald getting medical assistance from police at the scene. Some people, who weren’t expecting to stay outside in the bitter cold, were not dressed properly for the weather.
The buses were organized by the Trump campaign, and the Omaha World-Herald claimed that there were plenty of them to pick up all of the campaign attendees, but because traffic on the airport access road was limited to one lane, the busses were stuck.
Campaign officials said that the traffic jam was due to a larger than expected crowd, though it isn’t clear how many were in attendance. A reporter estimated that there were over 6,000 individuals, while law enforcement and the campaign put the number closer to 10,000.
While speaking, the president, who has been known to exaggerate or brag about his crowd size, claimed that the attendance was about 29,000 strong.
At the scene, one officer was heard saying that they needed at least 30 more buses to manage the needs, according to a tweet from CNN Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
Thousands of people left out in the cold and stranded in #Omaha, #Nebraska after a #Trump rally. I’m told the shuttles aren’t operating & there aren’t enough busses. Police didn’t seem to know what to do. Some walked. I saw at least one woman getting medical attention. pic.twitter.com/oIkmixaZt0
— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) October 28, 2020
One attendee described a chaotic scene that left attendees unsure of where to go.
“We were all parked over at Eppley,” she said.
“We were 3½ miles through darkness to get there. There was no direction given. I expected at the end of the rally somebody will say, ‘Go this way and there will be buses waiting.'”
Nebraska Democratic Party head Jane Kleeb criticized the situation.
“Leaving thousands of Nebraskans stranded in the cold captures the entire Trump administration,” she said.
“I hope those responsible for the poor planning to feed Trump’s ego will be held accountable and that fellow Nebraskans turn out to vote to end this chaos.”