NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, March 12, 2016, 11:44 AM
An unrepentant Donald Trump, to huge cheers Saturday, blamed his canceled Chicago rally on “professional” protesters sent to disrupt his campaign.
“All of a sudden, a planned attack came out of nowhere,” Trump told a raucous crowd in Dayton, Ohio. “Professional people. All done by a group, all very professionally done. A disgrace, if you want to know the truth.”
It was the GOP front-runner’s first appearance since Friday’s event in Chicago was scuttled amid tensions that turned into brawls at the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion.
Trump said the event was canceled out of concerns for the safety of his supporters — and actually pointed the finger at Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ backers for the trouble.
“Some (protesters) represented Bernie, our communist friend,” Trump said. “… He should really get up and say to his people, ‘Stop. Stop.’ Bernie, not me.”
Donald Trump is greeted by supporters as he arrives in Vandalia, Ohio, on Saturday.
Enlarge Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
A protester holds up a ripped Trump sign at Chicago rally on Friday.
The crowd chanted “USA! USA!” as Trump basked in their adulation and offered his version of what happened in Chicago.
“We made a decision, and I hated to do this,” said Trump. “Frankly, it would have been easier to go. But I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt … What happened yesterday was unfortunate.
“It was determined that if we go in, it would have been really, really bad vibes.”
The bad vibes escalated into aggression, with Trump supporters and protesters squaring off in fist fights in an ugly scene once the rally was shelved. Cops reported five arrests.
Thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators greeted his arrival in Chicago, and celebrated after the event was canceled.
“We stopped Trump!” they chanted. “We stopped Trump!”