Tensions ran high at a Donald Trump rally here the day after the Republican front-runner canceled a Chicago appearance amid violent protests, but Trump and his supporters weren’t discouraged, blaming his detractors for disturbances at his events.
In Chicago Friday night, Trump cancelled a rally that had hundreds of protesters clashing with supporters, leading to several violent skirmishes. In Ohio the next day, thousands turned out to see Trump at two events, and mostly they blamed the protesters, saying the candidate was not at fault.
Damian Ruggiero, 45, drove from Toledo to be at the Cleveland rally Saturday afternoon. He accused the protesters of disrupting private events, not exercising their constitutional rights.
“When they sneak in there and disrupt it and get their ass beat, they deserve it,” Ruggiero told RealClearPolitics. “And I’m not a violent person, but they deserve whatever they get because they came in under false pretenses. They weren’t invited. The people that are invited are supporters of his.”
Most Trump supporters here had a similar message: Not only were the protesters going beyond their First Amendment rights, they said, but they were infringing on the rights of his backers.