Donald Trump kicked off a rally at an airplane hangar outside Dayton, Ohio, one day after protesters forced him to cancel an event in Chicago.
The billionaire businessman addressed the incident at the start of his rally, calling what took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago “a disgrace, if you want to know the truth.”
Trump says his supporters are “nice” and “great” people, but protesters he called “professionally-staged wise guys” were determined to cause problems. He says he was worried his backers would have gotten hurt.
Trump says, “We would’ve had a problem like you wouldn’t have believed.”
He added, “We made a decision. And I hated to do this, because frankly it wouldn’t have been easier to do. But I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt. You would have had a problem like they haven’t seen in a long time. Because we have people that are so amazing.”
Trump was on Saturday was briefly surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents on stage after a man allegedly tried to rush the stage as Trump delivered the speech blasting Chicago protesters.
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said Thomas Dimassimo of Fairborn, Ohio, was charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct.
Dimassimo allegedly leapt over a barricade, jumping into the security buffer surrounding the stage from which Trump was speaking.
The man was stopped by several U.S. Secret Service agents and other officers, but not before making his way to the stage itself.
Several Secret Service agents surrounded Trump on stage briefly while the man was detained and removed from the area.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said a man had attempted attempted “to breach the secure buffer.” He was removed “rapidly and professionally,” she said in a statement.
Matt Miller, a Trump supporter who owns a body shop in Dayton, said he was standing near the podium when the agents took to the stage to protect Trump.
“We just saw a kid that tried to rush the stage. The Secret Service tackled him right away,” Miller said.
Trump, who was able to finish this speech without incident after the brief interruption, said from the stage: “Thank you for the warning. I was ready for ’em, but it’s much better if the cops do it, don’t we agree?”
Later a handful of protesters interrupted Trump’s rally in Cleveland, but the event otherwise appeared calm.
After Trump was interrupted shortly after taking the stage there, he again used the moment to criticize the protesters who flooded into his event in Chicago.
He said of Friday’s event, “We were not allowed to exercise our First Amendment rights.”
He also took a shot at Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during several interruptions in Cleveland.
Trump said, “They’re Bernie fans! Hey Bernie, get your people in line, Bernie!”
As he campaigned in John Kasich’s home state, Trump took on the Ohio governor.
“It’s a boring subject, but we’ll talk about him anyway,” Trump said as he launched into an attack on Kasich’s resume and votes on trade.
Trump pointed out that Kasich once worked for Lehman Brothers, an investment bank whose collapse in 2008 Trump calls one of the “great catastrophes of the word.”
He also noted that Kasich’s support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and his stance on immigration. “He’s not the right guy to be president,” Trump said.
Trump has ramped up his attacks against Kasich in recent days ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary in the state. The billionaire businessman will campaign later Saturday in Cleveland and Kansas City, Missouri.
Kasich on Saturday blamed Trump for creating “a toxic environment.” Kasich also suggested that he may not support Trump should the businessman become the GOP nominee.
There’s “no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of people,” he said.
Sanders on Saturday also said Trump’s heated language is inciting violent outbursts at his rallies, and it’s up to the billionaire businessman to stop it.
The Democratic senator from Vermont was speaking at a news conference Saturday in Chicago.
Some of the Trump protesters on Friday were chanting Sanders’ name as they celebrated the event’s cancellation.
But the Democratic presidential candidate says his supporters are not instigating trouble. He says, they’re “responding to a candidate who has, in fact, in many ways encouraged violence.”
Sanders says what the “Trump campaign has been about is insulting Mexicans in a very crude way” and “insulting African-Americans.”
The UIC chief of police, meanwhile, put out a statement about the Chicago rally, saying all UIC officers acted” with all appropriate agencies to address the security concerns associated with an event of this nature including the Secret Service, Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police as well as campaign and protest organizers.
The vast majority of attendees at today’s events exercised their Constitutional rights of free speech and free assembly peacefully.
The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the event created challenges in managing an orderly exit from the Pavilion, which nonetheless, was accomplished with no injuries or arrests.”
But Chicago Police say two officers sustained injuries when supporters of Trump clashed with protesters after he abruptly canceled a campaign rally.
Police say the two officers were taken to a hospital for treatment and released. No other details about their injuries were available. Police say no other injuries were reported at the event Friday night.
Police say five people were arrested at the event, but the charges have not yet been released. CBS News says one of its reporters has been charged with resisting arrest.
Reporter Sopan Deb was on the floor of the arena on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and interviewed Trump supporters and protesters. He also was taking video of the scene outside of the arena.