Donald Trump says the “organized group of thugs” that forced the shutdown of his rally in Chicago on Friday night is “energizing America,” as his campaign also announced the cancellation of the rally planned for Sunday in Cincinnati.
Trump took to Twitter to condemn the group of protesters who started fights at the packed rally in Chicago, saying: “The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!”
The protesters and Trump supporters got into a series of brawls, leaving two police officers injured and six people arrested.
“It is unfortunate that parties on both sides allowed their political views to become confrontational,” Police Interim Superintendent John Escalante said Friday night.
Trump later appeared on MSNBC, discussing how he was forced not to appear after the rally descended into mayhem.
“We have a country that’s so divided that even you don’t understand it,” he told anchor Chris Matthews. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and this has been going on for years.”
“There’s a lot of anger in the country, and it’s very sad to see actually,” he added. “We had literally over 25,000 people who wanted to come today. It’s incredible. Nobody was hurt and hopefully we can keep that going. That’s why I did this today: we don’t want anyone to get hurt, or worse. “
Matthews asked Trump what message he would send to the protesters who seem to hate the presidential candidate so much. Trump turned to jobs, saying America needs an influx of jobs—especially for African-Americans, a group of people with a high unemployment rate.
“You have to bring back jobs! I’d be angry too,” he said. “We have to bring jobs back. These kids are not getting jobs.”
Trump was then asked why he had told a protester to go get a job.
“He was a very nasty guy, he was very very loud, very boisterous and he was swinging his fists. He just looked to me like somebody that frankly… Maybe he did have a job maybe he did not. But there’s nothing wrong with saying go get a job, but the fact is it’s not easy to get jobs,” he said.
“He was mad long before I said that. He was jumping up and down, he could have been dangerous. Some of these protesters are very dangerous people.”
Trump then concluded that the chaos wouldn’t hurt his bid for president.
“You can’t even have a rally in this country anymore without violence. I think a lot of people think that it was wrong that we were stopped,” Trump lamented.
“We can’t have a rally in a major city in this country! What happened to the right to free speech?”
Matthews challenged Trump, saying it might not have been wise to hold a rally in a so-called racial powderkeg city like Chicago, but Trump was having none of it.
“It shouldn’t matter.Whoever lives in this city, it shouldn’t make a difference. We shouldn’t be restricted from having a rally here because of ethnic makeup,” Trump said.
“I think we did the right thing. A lot of people are saying we did the right thing and it looks like it’s going to be just fine.”