President Trump’s campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska devolved into chaos Tuesday night when a logistical nightmare left supporters stranded in near-freezing temperatures in need of medical attention.
The Washington Post reports that when the event ended, attendees lined up for buses intended to shuttle them from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield to far off parking lots. But there was a problem: Buses had difficulty navigating the access road to the rally site. According to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald, though there were plenty of buses ready to pick up rally attendees, traffic was limited to one direction. As a result, several Trump supporters—including elderly ones—were left stranded in the cold while the President jetted off on Air Force One.
Omaha Scanner, a Twitter account that monitors radio traffic in the Omaha area, confirmed that around 11 p.m. there were 20 empty buses stuck in a faraway parking lot. By that time, temperatures were hovering just above freezing.
The roads eventually cleared, but the stench of the shitshow left behind remains. Per Omaha Scanner, medics reported at least seven hospitalizations and 30 patient contacts, several with symptoms of hypothermia. Many attendees resorted to walking to their cars to get out of the cold; some were picked up by police officers and dropped off closer to their vehicles.
Of course, it was all smiles from the Trump campaign and White House before the transportation conundrum. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany boasted about the packed rally on Twitter. But it was hard to marvel at the thousands of attendees without noting that this largely mask-free crowd is crammed together while the covid-19 pandemic rages on.
And lost in this calamity is the fact that, with one week until the 2020 presidential election, Trump hosted a rally in Nebraska, a red state with five electoral votes which are split using the congressional district method. Historically, this has meant that Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District—Omaha and its suburbs—is potentially up for grabs for Democrats.
During his speech at the Omaha rally, Trump said, “Joe Biden doesn’t even respect you enough to campaign. He never came here, right? Did he come here?”
But the fact that Trump appears to be grasping for what could be one single electoral vote isn’t a reassuring sign from Trump World. If Trump Republicans weren’t worried before, they certainly should be now.