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Donald Trump Cancels Rally In Chicago As Protests Erupt


Tonight, Donald Trump's campaign has canceled an event in Chicago out of what they're describing as safety concerns. Footage on television shows fights between what appear to be Trump supporters and protestors. NPR's political editor Domenico Montanaro joins us now. Hi, Domenico.


SHAPIRO: First, describe what we know about what is happening tonight in Chicago.

MONTANARO: Well, we know that there were about 10,000 people or so who went into this arena at the University of Illinois, Chicago, which is an interesting place to hold this kind of event considering Chicago's one of the most liberal cities in America, very diverse. The University of Illinois, Chicago, itself is a commuter school, largely, very diverse campus, and there were thousands of protestors, it appeared, who were able to get into the arena and who were, you know - wound up breaking out into scuffles and fights. There was a man who was able to get on stage, in fact.

Donald Trump shut down the event amid security concerns. His campaign put out a statement saying, Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago and, after meeting with law enforcement, has determined that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight's rally will be postponed to another date. And then he concludes with, thank you very much for your attendance, and please go in peace (laughter).

SHAPIRO: And Domenico, this is not happening in a vacuum. There have been growing concerns about violence and Trump rallies. Talk about what's been happening lately.

MONTANARO: Well, there, of course, have been - this has been boiling over to, you know, a head here considering the last week. There was a man who, in Fayetteville, N.C., got punched in the face by a Trump supporter in the crowd. The man was wrestled to the ground by police. And then after footage appeared, that - of the Trump supporter who had punched the man in the face - had been arrested. And that man later said, you know, pretty inflammatory remarks that even worse should have been done to the protestor. There was a reporter from Breitbart, a conservative website, that had claimed that the campaign manager of the Trump campaign had grabbed her by the arm and had moved her to the side. She'd filed a complaint about that. The Trump campaign has denied that that even took place. And there have been lots of instances off-campus at different Trump events where there've been these kinds of minor scuffles that have broken out and certainly has - apparently come to a head tonight.

SHAPIRO: Briefly, Domenico - politics is over described as a rough-and-tumble business. Is it usually this rough? How atypical is this?

MONTANARO: No. I mean, this, you know - if you - if you're wondering about how low our politics have gone, you know, it's hard to look back at a time when our politics have been so divisive with a country at kind of an apex of cultural change and seeing what we've seen play out during this campaign, where Donald Trump has fueled a kind of populist, protectionist and, at times, nativist rhetoric, even at the debate last night, saying that, yeah, while he doesn't condone violence, there have been people who have gotten into his rallies who have been there to cause trouble and had to be taken care of somehow and hope that the police would do so.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro on news that the Trump campaign has postponed a rally in Chicago tonight out of safety concerns as fights broke out in the arena where the rally was scheduled to take place. Thanks, Domenico.

MONTANARO: Thank you, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
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