The last-minute cancellation of a major Chicago rally by Donald Trump on safety grounds has pivoted the attention from Republican party infighting to the increasingly violent tone at his rallies and the extent to which Trump encourages it.
Scuffles and fights broke out between pro- and anti-Trump protesters as thousands waited in a stadium at the University of Illinois at Chicago for the candidate, who was a no-show. Instead columns of police filed into the stadium, attempting to separate the factions as announcements were made that Trump had cancelled.
Amidst chaos, it became clear that unlike the usual mix of a dozen or so protesters among Trump’s thousands of rally attendees, as much as half of the crowd crammed into the UIC stadium were there to protest against Trump.
Trump blamed on Saturday organised “thugs” for the protests that shut down his Chicago rally and said the incident had “energised America.”
“The organised group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energised America!” Trump said on Twitter.
Sadly he’s right. This will play to his base and energise them. I suspect this is exactly what he wanted. He is provocative for a reason.