Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden lashed out at President Donald Trump on Wednesday, making strong criticisms against the president for a campaign event that he held in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, which resulted in the stranding of thousands of rallygoers in near-freezing temperatures.
Trump wrapped up his event at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, departing on Air Force One around 9 p.m. The plan had been for buses, provided by his campaign, to transport thousands of rally participants to their vehicles, parked three to four miles away.
Strong winds and low temperatures combined to create blistering windchill conditions, as law enforcement and campaign volunteers struggled to organize the chaotic situation on the ground. At least 30 individuals required medical attention of some kind, and seven were taken to the hospital.
According to several reports, the buses could not navigate the two-laned airport roads, resulting in one-way traffic that left thousands waiting for hours in the bitter cold. Some Trump supporters, not willing to wait any longer, started walking the long trek to their vehicles, which exacerbated the problem.
The confusion lasted for several hours, with the crowd not fully clearing out until around 12:30 a.m. local time.
The Trump campaign took no responsibility for the mishap, claiming that it had provided enough buses for the event and blaming local road closures for what transpired.
“We always strive to provide the best guest experience at our events and we care about their safety,” Trump deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager explained in a statement.
However, a local volunteer with the campaign offered a contrasting view of what happened, saying little guidance was given to local campaign officials on how to manage the exodus of supporters after the rally.
Nebraska State Sen. Megan Hunt, a Democrat, criticized the president for what had happened, saying in a tweet that it exemplified how the president truly felt about his base of supporters.
“Supporters of the President were brought in, but buses weren’t able to get back to transport people out. It’s freezing and snowy in Omaha tonight. He truly does not care about you,” Hunt said.
Biden himself expressed dismay on Wednesday over what took place, recognizing that those who attended Trump’s rally on Tuesday included “older Americans and children. He added that the event “captures President Trump’s whole approach in this crisis” as well, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump “makes a lot of big pronouncements, but they don’t hold up,” Biden said. “He gets his photo op and then gets out. He leaves everyone else to suffer the consequence of his failure to make a responsible plan. It seems like he just doesn’t care much about it.”