Politicians Speak Out About Donald Trump's Canceled Rally, Making The GOP Even More Tense
The Republican party is facing increased in-fighting and hostility among its members on Saturday following reports of violence at a recent Donald Trump rally in Chicago. According to CNN, Trump was forced to cancel Friday's planned campaign rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago after his supporters clashed with the hundreds of protesters who flooded the event venue. There were reports of brawls between Trump supporters and protesters, and both supporters and protesters were detained by Chicago police. Amid rising tensions, GOP politicians spoke out about Donald Trump's canceled rally.
Protesters, many of whom displayed anti-racism and anti-xenophobia messages, stood their ground both inside and outside the event venue. CNN reported that at least five sections of the arena where Trump was scheduled to appear were packed with only protesters. Some acts of violence have been captured on camera and post on social media, including a white Trump supporter who punched an African American protester at a rally in North Carolina earlier in the week. The Trump supporter, 78-year-old John McGraw, was charged with assault on Thursday.
GOP presidential challengers Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have all released statements to the media condemning the ongoing violence occurring at Trump's events. Cruz told reporters in Illinois Friday night that Trump and his campaign shoulder most of the blame for the brawls and fistfights.
"I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment," Cruz told reporters in Illinois Friday night. "When a candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence, to punch people in the face, the predictable consequence of that is that it escalates, and today is unlikely to be the last such instance."
Kasich, who's trying to stay above Trump's campaign, posted a statement on Twitter Friday night calling the event in Chicago "ugly." The Ohio governor accused Trump of instigating hatred among his followers, claiming that "the seeds of division that Donald Trump has been sowing this whole campaign finally bore fruit."
Kasich also hosted a news conference in Cincinnati Saturday morning, in which he further targeted Trump, saying, "Donald Trump has created a toxic environment, and a toxic environment has allowed his supporters ... to come together in violence." The Ohio governor added that seeing "Americans slugging themselves at a political rally deeply disturbed me."
Meanwhile, an exhausted Rubio, who is predicted to drop out of the race in the near future, told reporters in Florida on Saturday that "it's getting harder every day" to support the future Republican nominee, which at this time appears to be Trump. Like Kasich, Rubio directly accused Trump of inciting violence and egging on his supporters.
"You saw those images last night of people getting in their face, divided up among racial lines in many cases. ... and we're going backwards here," Rubio told reporters, proclaiming the scenes "a frightening, grotesque, and disturbing development in American politics."
"This boiling point that we have now reached has been fed largely by the fact that we have a front-runner in my party who has fed into language that basically justifies physically assaulting people who disagree with you," the candidate continued.