Donald Trump’s campaign canceled a planned rally in Chicago on Friday night at the last minute, citing “security concerns.”
The cancellation comes after more than 30 people were arrested near another Trump event earlier Friday in St. Louis.
After news of the Chicago rally cancellation was reported on cable news, and pictures of massive crowds of protesters spread online, the GOP primary frontrunner called in to MSNBC and Fox News to talk about it.
“Whatever happened to freedom of speech?” Trump said on MSNBC, lamenting that “you can’t have a rally in a major city in this country anymore.”
Trump has often slammed people who protest his rallies. As one demonstrator was escorted out of a Trump event last month, the billionaire mogul said, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
On Fox News, Trump was asked whether he would take responsibility for the unrest.
“I don’t think I play a role in division in this country,” he said.
The day after a man was criminally charged with allegedly punching a protester at a Trump event this week, the candidate declared: “We need a little bit more” violence against protesters.
Trump has encountered a number of dissenters since launching his presidential bid last summer — many of whom have allegedly been motivated by Trump’s own fiery rhetoric. Protesters have often been rushed out of those events, sometimes violently.
In an interview with CNN, news anchor Don Lemon asked Trump if he regrets some of the words he has said about hurting protesters.
“No,” Trump said, “many of these protesters are very bad people.”
The Trump campaign has, in fits and starts, taken a more subdued approach toward people who oppose his candidacy. Announcements are often broadcast at the frontrunner’s rallies, telling supporters not to hurt protesters, but to chant instead, allowing security personnel to escort the protesters out.
On MSNBC, Trump insisted that the protests against him, and Friday night’s rally cancellation in Chicago, will ultimately help his campaign.
“This increases the vote for Trump,” he said.
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