News / USA

    Trump Rejects Responsibility for Violence at His Rallies

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Boca Raton, Fla., Sunday, March 13, 2016.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Boca Raton, Fla., Sunday, March 13, 2016.
    VOA News

    Leading U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is denying any responsibility for the violence that has erupted at his political rallies, and is defending his supporters who have been charged with assaulting protesters.

    "We're not provoking. We want peace. ... We don't want trouble,'' he told a large crowd in Bloomington, Illinois, the first of two comparatively docile events on Sunday.

    His denials came even as political rivals continued to blame him for sowing the seeds of anger that have led to the violent confrontations.

    Fights and pushing and shoving have broken out between his supporters and protesters opposing his candidacy at rallies in several states where key Republican nominating primary contests are set for Tuesday.

    Authorities have arrested a small number of protesters, some inside his rallies in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, and others outside on nearby streets.

    WATCH: Campaign supporters, protesters clash at weekend events

    Trump, Sanders Trade Blame Over Campaign Rally Disruptionsi
    X
    March 13, 2016 4:16 PM
    Republican front-runner Donald Trump claims Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders' supporters planned disruptions that forced the cancellation of Trump's Chicago campaign rally Friday night. Sanders denies the allegation, and blames Trump's harsh rhetoric for fueling anger on the campaign trail.

    In Illinois Sunday, Trump assured his backers that their frustration is righteous rage against a corrupt political and economic system. He cast his naysayers as "bad people'' who "do harm to the country.''

    The billionaire real estate mogul instead cast blame on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for the increasingly frequent disruptions and threatened to retaliate by sending his supporters to Sanders' rallies.

    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shakes hands with supporters during a campaign rally at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., March 12, 2016.
    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shakes hands with supporters during a campaign rally at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., March 12, 2016.

    No organized protest

    Sanders said some of his supporters had disrupted the Trump event, but that his campaign played no role in organizing the anti-Trump protest.

    At one Trump rally outside Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, a protester charged toward the stage where Trump was speaking in an airport hangar. But Secret Service agents guarding Trump intercepted the demonstrator before he reached the candidate.

    At another Trump rally last week in the mid-Atlantic state of North Carolina, a 78-year-old Trump supporter sucker-punched a protester as security guards escorted the demonstrator out of the gathering.

     

    Protesters are escorted out of UIC Pavilion before Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago, March 11, 2016.
    Protesters are escorted out of UIC Pavilion before Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago, March 11, 2016.

     

    The Trump supporter was charged with assault, with Trump telling NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that the man “got carried away.” Trump said he had instructed his aides to look into paying the man’s legal fees to handle his court case.

    Fellow Republicans

    Trump’s Republican challengers, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich, as well as Democratic presidential candidate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, all blamed Trump for the marked turn toward physical confrontations at his political rallies.

    All of Trump’s Republican challengers have pledged to support him if he wins the party’s presidential nomination at the Republican national convention in July, after the end of the state-by-state nominating contests.

    Wavering on commitment

    But both Rubio and Kasich say they are wavering in their commitment should Trump get the nomination.

    “I think a significant number of Republicans will not vote for Trump,” Rubio said, if the New York developer is the party nominee in the November national election, quite possibly against Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate.

    U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio poses for a photo with supporters, during a campaign stop in Hudson, Fla., March 12, 2016.
    U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio poses for a photo with supporters, during a campaign stop in Hudson, Fla., March 12, 2016.

    Rubio said, “It’s getting harder every day to justify” his pledge to support Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

    Delegate Count

    Here is an estimated delegate count for each candidate:

    Republicans

    Donald Trump: 621
    Ted Cruz: 396
    John Kasich: 138

    Democrats

    Hillary Clinton: 1,561
    Bernie Sanders: 800

    Total delegates needed for party nomination:

    Democrats: 2,383

    Republicans: 1,237

    * As of March 16, 2016

    Cruz, a conservative agitator in the halls of Congress against both Republican and Democratic leaders, said Trump “would be a disaster” in a general election matchup against Clinton.

    The party primary elections and caucuses are apportioning delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions in July, where the presidential nominees will be formally selected. Trump and Clinton both are leading the races for their party nominations, but neither is close to the majority of convention delegates needed to claim victory.

    Until now, all the state nominating contests in both parties have split the awarding of delegates roughly along the lines of the vote counts in each state.

    But on Tuesday, in both Florida and Ohio, the winning Republican contenders will collect all the delegates, 99 in Florida and 66 in Ohio, in winner-take-all primaries.

    Trump supporters gather in Boca Raton, Florida, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (Photo by W. Gallo/VOA)
    Trump supporters gather in Boca Raton, Florida, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (Photo by W. Gallo/VOA)

    Trump has been leading Rubio in Florida, but is locked in a close race in Ohio with Kasich, who governs the Midwestern state.

    Clinton and Sanders will continue to collect pledged convention delegates roughly based on their vote totals in each state, not winner-take-all.

    In Ohio's capital Sunday, Democrats got to compare the party's top presidential contenders up close ahead of Tuesday's primary. About 3,200 people gathered for the party's annual dinner at the Columbus convention center to hear from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

    Correction: Due to an erroneous Associated Press report, an early version of this story indicated that Bernie Sanders responded to Donald Trump's suggestion that he would send his supporters to Sanders campaign events by saying "Send them.  They deserve to see what a real honest politician sounds like.''  Sen. Sanders did not say or Tweet that statement.

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    by: PermReader
    March 14, 2016 1:48 PM
    The russian saying: the impudence is the second happeness. It is the VOA`s happeness to blame Trump, who was attacked by leftist VOA`s friends.

    by: Henry Mapesa from: Rwanda-East Africa
    March 14, 2016 7:24 AM
    Good political temperature in US, the question of political civilization all along i thought it lived in US and Europe, then may buried in Africa. Its uncultured and a bizarre for US citizens fighting one another because of presidential candidates. Peace , love and unity should among Americans. I would conclude by saying that the difference between African politics and US politics almost the same.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 14, 2016 10:48 AM
    America has never been so divided since "The Lincoln War" and the Trump supporters want law and order restored, so citizens don't have to carry a gun to protect themselves from the gangbangers, violent protesters, criminals and rioters, that Obama and his justice department, politicians, black leaders and preachers emphasize and identify themselves with, while blaming white society and demonizing the police that are trying to enforce the laws of the United States? .. And Trump's message to Americans is a threat to the supporters of those gangbangers, violent protesters, violent criminals and rioters, illegal immigrants and terrorists? .. and that's why they use violence to disrupt the Trump political rallies? .. think about it?

    by: Vlad from: NE Ohio
    March 13, 2016 11:55 PM
    The click-bait sub-headline stated "Trump's denials come even as political...". Denials. There's a statement from the press, to make it appear as if Trump's culpable.
    In Response

    by: Pete from: Fayetteville
    March 14, 2016 9:27 AM
    "The audience hit back and that's what we need a little bit more of." - Just this past Friday in Florida.

    “They used to treat them very, very rough, and when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily,” he said, before lamenting "we've become weak." - Last Wednesday

    "we're not allowed to punch back anymore..." when a protester would "be carried out on a stretcher."- Late February

    "I'd like to punch him in the face." - Week before last in Michigan

    "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously." - Iowa in early February

    Of course he's culpable. He's inciting violence. He ought to go to jail.

    by: Pete from: Fayetteville
    March 13, 2016 10:07 PM
    Well, of course he doesn't take responsibility for the violence. When was the last time a Republican took responsibility for anything? Hell, Sarah Palin blames Obama for her kids being screwed up. The Republicans blame the Democrats for Trump. They blame Obama for the not fixing the economy that they screwed up, fast enough and never taking the blame for screwing it up to begin with.

    by: Pete
    March 13, 2016 10:01 PM
    The media makes me sick.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 13, 2016 9:19 PM
    No matter what all the Trump critics say, there's one undeniable fact they can't dispute, [and that is], nobody will find gangbangers, violent protesters, violent criminals, or rioters, amongst the Trump political (supporters) at his rallies, [but you will find], the gangbangers, violent protesters, violent criminals and rioters, (trying to disrupt with violence) the Trump political rallies, [because they fear Trump as president will wage war on the drug pushers and dealers, and the gangbangers, violent protesters, violent criminals, and rioters, and illegal immigrants and terrorists?

    PS; . Trump doesn't bring the violent gangbangers, violent criminals and rioters to his political rallies, [no], the violence is brought by the gangbangers, violent criminals and rioters that oppose Trump, and will do anything to disrupt his political rallies? .. Think about it?

    by: Anonymous
    March 13, 2016 6:55 PM
    Has everyone had enough of this absurd windbag Trump yet? God knows we don't want any of the republican lineup in charge of anything, and Bernie is about fifty years too late for his Hippie-Commie crapola. That just leaves one clear choice, Hillary Clinton.

    by: J Russ from: USA
    March 13, 2016 2:19 PM
    First there absolutely a right to free speech. However, there is not a right to thuggishly prevent free speech. Second these boorish Trump protester are not hurting Trump by preventing him to speak, they are helping him. Fair minded Americans, supporters, and even opponents deplore these ill-mannered and out of control hostile tactics to prevent Trump from speaking. It not only reinforces Trumps supporters, but brings out his marginal and stay at home voters. And finally creates an air of empathy for someone being unfairly treated. As a life long Democrat I want Trump to continue to speak. I want Trump and his supporters to become the poster children for who the Republican Party has recruited for decades and have now become. I want the Republican Party to finally reap their whirlwind.
    In Response

    by: Pete from: Fayetteville
    March 14, 2016 9:29 AM
    "First there absolutely a right to free speech."

    The right to free speech is NOT absolute. You cannot incite violence. You cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theater (unless there's actually a fire). What Trump is doing is inciting violence and he ought to go to jail for it.

    by: Donna Davis
    March 13, 2016 1:47 PM
    People have the right in our country to their opinions and their right to express them. However. ... we do not have the legal right to express them violently which is what our so called adult children displayed in Chicago, St. Louis etc.... whether you agree or disagree with Donald Trump, there's a correct way to express those feelings or opinions and violence is not it. For you that were violent at the rally are paying the price, Donald Trump will still make his speech eventually, he will be heard, and you either spent time in jail, paid fines or both. You did not hurt Donald Trump or his campaign. People that did not want Obama in as president did not fall to this level. Do things the right way.

    by: Stephen Real
    March 13, 2016 9:56 AM
    Chicago has a legacy of rough house campaigning since the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. When the violence flowed out of the hall and into battles on the streets. We have not gotten there yet. Organized counter protests in Chicago, with an edge of "violence as a way", is not exactly a new phenomena to this politically distressed city.

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