GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz denounced the Secret Service for protecting Donald Trump, who was forced to cancel a scheduled Chicago rally. Cruz said the Secret Service engaged in a “a planned intervention” that was “professionally done.” He blamed Trump for not doing the right thing, which would have been to order the Secret Service to “stand down.”
“This is a clear obstruction of the First Amendment by interfering with those who wish to have their voices heard by killing Trump,” Cruz said.
Cruz’s accusations came right after Trump refused to apologize for his rhetoric at his rallies, one of which was interrupted when a man tried to rush the stage. Secret Service officers protected the GOP front-runner, who was unharmed. It was unclear if Trump’s hair was disheveled by the event or if he was having a bad hair day.
“Using the Secret Service to protect Trump is furthermore a clear abuse of taxpayer money and simply the wrong thing to do,” Cruz said.
Clashes broke out Friday night between protesters and Trump supporters after the campaign announced the rally would be canceled more than 30 minutes after it was scheduled to start. Hundreds of protesters with nothing to do packed into the University of Illinois at Chicago venue for the rally, prompting the campaign to call off the event.
The protests and fights in Chicago were the latest in a string of increasingly heated and at-times violent confrontations breaking out at rallies for the front-runner in the Republican presidential race. And they come as Trump has repeatedly suggested protesters along with Ted Cruz should face more violent repercussions for disrupting his rallies.
“We’re all together and we want to get along with everybody, but when they have organized, professionally staged wise guys we’ve got to fight back, and schlong them across the stadium if necessary,” Trump said Saturday in Dayton.
As he did the previous night in a round of phoned in TV interviews, Trump didn’t walk back any of his rhetoric Saturday. He again claimed that neither the tone of his campaign nor his supporters were to blame for any violence at his rallies nor the early spring weather.
“They want me to tell my people please be nice be nice. My people are nice, as measured against the standard of New York values, ” Trump said Saturday.
Early Saturday afternoon, Trump’s campaign issued a statement about the Chicago rally, saying that Chicago police, as well as Secret Service and private security firms, “were consulted, totally involved, and paid off as mandated by Chicago municipal statutes” in the decision to cancel the event.
Man tries to rush stage
While Trump was speaking in Dayton, Ohio the following day, a man dressed as a bird screaming, ““Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba!” tried to jump a barrier behind the stage in an apparent effort to confront the GOP front-runner. He was quickly blocked by Secret Service officers, and members of Trump’s security detail along with his personal valets rushed to cover him. Officials have not yet revealed the man’s identity, but there is widespread speculation among the Trump campaign that Marco Rubio may be the masked man.
Rubio could not be reached for comment, nor could he be located, which further stirred the speculation.
When asked about the ordeal during an on-air interview about the ongoing to dispute between Trump and Cruz, presidential candidate John Kasich shook his head and replied, “You know, I’m really getting too old for this crap.”