News / USA

    Trump Blames Sanders for Disrupting Chicago Campaign Rally

    Secret Service agents surround U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a disturbance as he speaks at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2016.
    Secret Service agents surround U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a disturbance as he speaks at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2016.
    Katherine GypsonKen Schwartz

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is blaming Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and his supporters for what he says was a planned disruption that forced him to cancel a Chicago rally Friday night.

    Fights broke out among several Trump supporters and opponents before police cleared the crowd. Many of the protesters chanted "Bernie, Bernie" and waved Sanders signs.

    Police made five arrests.

    Campaigning Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump mocked the socialist senator from Vermont as "our communist friend."

    Blaming Sanders

    "Where do these people come from?" Trump asked. "They're Bernie's crowd. Hey, Bernie. Get your people in line, Bernie."

    Trump complained that the Chicago demonstration was "professionally done" and accused protesters of keeping him from exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges supporters’ applause at a campaign rally in St. Louis, Mo., March 11, 2016.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges supporters’ applause at a campaign rally in St. Louis, Mo., March 11, 2016.

    Sanders issued a statement Saturday denying his campaign organized the protests and blaming Trump's harsh rhetoric for provoking attacks by Trump supporters.

    "What causes the violence at Trump's rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women and people with disabilities and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama," the Vermont senator said.

    Before declaring his candidacy, Trump insisted Barack Obama was not born in the United States, had faked his birth certificate, and therefore was unqualified to be president.

    Calls rhetoric 'dangerous'

    Sanders' rival in the race for the Democratic nod, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, called Trump's campaign rhetoric "dangerous" and appealed to voters Saturday to reject  "this tide of bullying and bigotry and blustering."

    "If you play with matches, you're going to start a fire you can't control," Clinton told campaign volunteers in St. Louis.

    President Obama, speaking at a fundraiser in Dallas, added to the criticism, saying candidates running for office should be focused on making America "even better, not insults and schoolyard taunts and manufacturing facts, not divisiveness along the lines of race and faith, certainly not violence against other Americans."

    In this March 11, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. greets supporters in Naples, Fla.
    In this March 11, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. greets supporters in Naples, Fla.

    Trump's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination also criticized him for conditions that incite some people to violence.

    "Donald Trump has created a toxic environment," Ohio Governor John Kasich said in a news conference Saturday in Cincinnati.

    Kasich said he has tried to run a positive campaign during his presidential bid. Building a campaign around negative comments, Kasich said, is "lowering the bar on American politics, [which] is not acceptable."

    Trump's leading challenger, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, said that "when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this type of nasty discord."

    Wyoming, District of Columbia

    Meanwhile, Cruz easily won Saturday's Republican caucus in the Western state of Wyoming, picking up nine delegates. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Trump each won one delegate, with Trump earning only 7 percent of the vote.

    Republicans in Washington, DC held a primary Saturday, with Rubio edging out Kasich. Trump came in third. Rubio earned 10 delegates and Kasich the other nine.

    Organizers reported thousands of Republicans turned out to vote, with some waiting as long as two hours.

    Republican U.S. presidential candidate John Kasich addresses an audience at a campaign stop in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., March 7, 2016.
    Republican U.S. presidential candidate John Kasich addresses an audience at a campaign stop in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., March 7, 2016.

    Tuesday is pivotal

    Five important states hold primaries Tuesday, including Florida and Ohio - winner-take-all states where the top finisher wins all the delegates instead of splitting them with the runners up.  Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina also hold primaries.

    Big wins by Trump Tuesday would give him a huge lead in the delegate count over Cruz and likely put the Republican nomination out of reach for Rubio and Kasich.

    Polls show Trump in a close race with Kasich in Ohio. Rubio has taken the unusual step of encouraging his supporters in Ohio to vote for Kasich to reduce the chances that Trump will win all of the state's delegates.

    Trump has many supporters among white working-class voters, and his blunt rhetoric and slogan promising to "Make America Great Again" could attract workers anxious about stagnating wages and years of decline in industrial jobs in the so-called U.S. "Rust Belt."

    For Democrats, Clinton is far out in front in the delegate count and Sanders is relying on big support by young voters to keep his candidacy strong.


    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

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    Comments page of 2
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    by: PermReader
    March 13, 2016 7:12 AM
    Trump defends America from illegal immigration and Muslims terrorists. The leftists and churches unite in defence of Muslims and illegals. Pope cries about "dirty money of rich". Leftists organize violent demonstration against Trump and blame Trump for their violence. The hypocricy of openly leftist Dems.

    by: Larry from: London
    March 13, 2016 5:50 AM
    How is it possible that an absolute lunatic like Donald Trump is actually taken seriously by the American people? As an American living overseas I am embarrassed. Donald Trump is making America look ridiculous and I am ashamed to be associated with a nation that could even consider electing him. The fact that Trump, despite all his antics, is still seen as a credible candidate is a real indictment on the intelligence and integrity of the American people. Wake Up America!

    by: annymous from: usa
    March 13, 2016 5:06 AM
    who is getting the blame ? who is getting the praise? non of republican nor democrat is fit to be the president of USA . because the lobby and money poured by special interest. . both party are plying dirty game to elected his body. Sandra is socialist and socialist prove is not good economic system. Hilary has credibility problem . trump has strange idea such building wall between USA and Mexico. this an stupid idea . Even he made that wall will not stop Mexican to come to Us . simply then can design a underground tunnel to be avenue to cross the wall . see how many tunnel was made between Gaza and Israel. . how many billion spend for the most sleazy campaign that full of broken promises while the main issue was never addressed. we had a night mare during Obama administration who promised us with sweet dream and fantasied us with rose garden. then we have radical Islam are charge in middle East . and heath care is getting worst

    by: Federico E. from: California
    March 12, 2016 11:55 PM
    Hitler promoted hatred of Jews while he oppressed all the people of Germany. Trump promotes hatred of Muslims for the same fascist reason.

    by: Sons of Liberty from: America
    March 12, 2016 11:21 PM
    One of the things that makes the United States a great Nation is the fact that we elect our leaders peacefully. This shameful display of intimidation and "thuggery" has no place in our Democratic Republic.

    by: Larry Linn from: Los Angeles
    March 12, 2016 9:28 PM
    If old man Sanders can ruin Trump’s rally, how can Trump handle Putin?

    by: Ydarb from: Hollywood
    March 12, 2016 9:19 PM
    It amazes me that all these people came out to protest Trump, with violent intentions, but yet never do squat about the real violence in their own community.

    by: Chris
    March 12, 2016 6:51 PM
    Bernie Sanders supporters are the thugs trying to destroy free speech and incite violence in Chicago. Just saw the article on MSNBC.com

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 12, 2016 5:08 PM
    Crazy isn't it? .. Since today on March 12, 2016, over 500 people have been shot and over 100 people killed in Chicago so far this year, [but yet], the democrats and far left, and the news media, and his political opponents blame Trump for inciting violence? .. In Chicago? .. It seems like whoever speaks out against the violent protesters and rioters and killers are condemned for inciting violence? .. But senator Obama was praised for speaking out on "the black quiet riot" that happens every day in America? .. Strange isn't it?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 12, 2016 4:16 PM
    The greatest fears of the democratic party and the far left is that Trump is the republican nominee for president, because millions of white citizens who have never voted before will come out and vote for trump? .. Make no mistake, America has never been so divided since the "Lincoln War" and these black violent protesters are showing what's been dividing America? .. Black violence, violent protests and riots? .. Law abiding citizens cannot trust Obama and his justice department and his political party anymore, and they want to change America to what it once was? .. just another observation?
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