The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had to cancel his latest presidential rally after violence erupted between his supporters and protesters.
It was announced a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Friday night would be postponed after clashes broke out prior to Trump's arrival.
Afterwards, Trump told CNN's Don Lemon that he had taken the decision to call off the rally for the safety of everyone involved.
When asked as to the reason for the protests, Trump argued that the anger was caused by "economic" reasons:
I think it’s largely economic, and if you look at African American youth they have a 59 per cent unemployment rate. 59 per cent. I think it’s a largely economic problem, absolutely.
Lemon challenged him on this point, reminding him that he had previously incited violence at several of his own rallies:
Do you think it has anything to do with the tone that some have said you have set, by telling people to 'get them out' or 'punch them in the face' or saying that 'they should be taken out on a stretcher'?
Trump denied any responsibility for the violence, explaining that his rallies were "a lovefest" that feature "great love":
I don’t take responsibility, nobody’s been hurt at our rallies and I’ve had 25,000 or 35,000 people, more than that. We had one the other day 25,000 people in Florida, and we’ve never had anybody hurt.
We will have protesters stand up and be very very abusive, unbelievably abusive, and in some cases swinging and punching, not a good situation. I think overall we’ve been very mild with protesters.
Watch the interview, below:
Trump's rallies are not calm affairs - while protests are familiar sights, people have been dragged from rallies, protesters and journalists have been struck by security guards and, as of yesterday, large scale violence has broken out.
And he does little do discourage it, in fact the opposite.
Here are the times Trump has incited violence at his rallies
Trump last month said of a protester "I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya", before lamenting the "good old days":
We’re not allowed to punch back any more. You know what they used to do to a guy like that in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
Earlier in the month, he said of people throwing tomatoes:
If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of 'em, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.
In November 2015 he said of a Black Lives Matter protester:
Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.
Trump regularly incites violence at demonstrations, and that's just informal parts of his platform.
Trump has been condemned with hate speech regarding his formal policy on Mexico, which is to build a wall and attempt to make the country pay for it, having labelled Mexicans as "rapists". He's also proposed a total ban on Islam, he wants to repeal same-sex marriage and he's said his plan with regards to Isis is:
Bomb the s--t out of 'em. I would just bomb those suckers. That's right. I'd blow up the pipes... I'd blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.