Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Gov. John Kasich all suggested Friday night that Donald Trump was partly responsible for the left-wing mob shutdown of his own rally in Chicago.
“I wouldn’t say Mr. Trump is responsible for the events of tonight, but he most certainly, in other events … bears some responsibility for the general tone of the things that have [been] happening before,” said Rubio, as he tried to blame Trump for prior protests — and clashes — at his rallies.
“I think it’s the job of leaders not to stoke that anger, but to use that anger, and channel it in a way that allows us to reach solutions, as opposed to stoke that anger in a way that drives us to a political victory on a given election year,” Rubio told CNN shortly after he declared he was “very sad for our country.”
Cruz packaged his criticism of Trump in the same more-in-sorrow-than-anger tone.
“This is a sad day. Political discourse should occur in this country without a threat of violence, without anger and rage and hatred directed at each other,” he said in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, just north of downtown Chicago. He continued;
Earlier today, over 30 people were arrested in one rally, and then tonight, as violence broke out, the rally was cancelled altogether. Now the responsibility for that lies with protestors who took violence into their own hands, but in any campaign, responsibility starts at the top. Any candidate is responsible for the culture of the campaign and when you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.
The prior rally, where people were arrested, was a Trump rally in St. Louis, Missouri.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich released a similar statement:
Tonight the seeds of division that Donald Trump has been sowing this whole campaign finally bore fruit, and it was ugly. Some let their opposition to his views slip beyond protest into violence, but we can never let that happen. I urge people to resist that temptation and rise to a higher level. Now is the time for Americans to come together and stand firm for what we know is true: we are great because we are a peaceful people who live by the rule of law. We are stronger together, we will reject those who try to divide us for personal gain and we will do it the right way—at the ballot box.
Trump ignored the criticism from his rivals, and pointed towards the mob of diverse radicals who waved Mexican and communist flags, carried pro-amnesty slogans, wore Islamic headgear, and stomped on American flags.
“It’s a little bit sad when you can’t have a rally in a major city in this country … What ever happened to freedom of speech? What ever happened to the right to get together?” Trump told MSNBC.
“Our nation is totally divided,” Trump told Fox. “We have so many different sets of divisions and hopefully we’ll be able to bring it together. I’m a unifier. President Obama has not been a unifier, he’s been a divider. I’m a unifier, I’ll bring people together.”