How Donald Trump caused his own rally's cancellation

By Sanaa Khan

Throughout his presidential campaign, every aspect of diversity has served as another opportunity for Donald Trump to further divide the nation.

So when a Trump rally scheduled for Friday night at the University of Illinois at Chicago was surrounded with contentious protests, few were surprised.

Shortly before the event was scheduled to start, the rally was “postponed” to a later date due to security concerns. Hundreds of protesters, a majority from UIC, were seen cheering after the announcement, while Trump supporters were left feeling shocked and angry.

Conflicts before the event resulted in at least five arrests and three injuries. Protesters had filled several sections of the arena and carried signs reading messages such as “dump Trump” and “Muslims united against Trump.” Some protesters directly addressed Trump’s infamous policies with signs displaying more personal messages such as, “Your empire can’t stand without the hands of immigrants.”

RBIn an over-the-phone interview with CNN’s Don Lemon after the event was canceled, Trump said that America is a “divided country” which was all very “sad to see”. Trump is right — it is sad how divided Americans have been during this presidential election on so many fundamental issues.

But Donald Trump is the one candidate whose unthinkable success in the election thus far thrives off the very same divisiveness to which he was referring. Trump has criticized virtually every single classification found within the United States, be it the disabled, women, Mexicans, Muslims and others, yet he has only grown in popularity.

RBTrump and his supporters’ use of the umbrella term ‘political correctness’ to detract from the prejudice of his attacks apparently extends to his antagonizing remarks made at rallies as well. Among the many insults, Trump has referred to the media as “dishonest” and “scum.”

He also has encouraged his audience to “knock the crap out of” protesters with him promising to cover any legal fees. Following suit, at a North Carolina event, a Trump supporter sucker-punched a protester as he was being escorted out. And earlier in February, a Secret Service agent held a photographer in a choke-hold after the photographer left the media pen at a rally.

With Trump inciting physical violence among his supporters, it is only a matter of time before every rally must be “postponed” for the sake of safety and security.

RBPeople have a right to be angry. But as law-abiding citizens of society, they also have an obligation to conduct themselves in a respectable and non-violent manner. Considering the example and encouragement that Trump has set for his supporters, an outbreak of violence is a given.

Under the guise of First Amendment rights and anti-political correctness, these actions are somehow made out to be valid. Yet Trump and his supporters antagonize the very essence of the same freedom they fight to protect when they battle with protesters and the media.

If Trump and his supporters truly believed in First Amendment rights, they would accept, if not welcome, the right to protest, assemble and voice opinions through media.

The canceled Chicago rally is not the first time protesters have interrupted a Trump rally, and it ultimately won’t be the last. However, the rally in Chicago serves as an exception, with protesters’ efforts actually leading to the event’s cancellation.

The success of the protesters reflects a united city standing up to a man who seeks to divide.

Aptly put by Republican opponent John Kasich, “The seeds of division that Donald Trump has been sowing this campaign finally bore fruit, and it was ugly.”

Not only has Trump been brewing the mentality for an inevitably large-scale dispute between supporters and protesters, he also chose the perfect location to do so. Chicago, a city known for its liberal, diverse populace, obviously opposes Trump’s exclusive platform.

Perhaps Trump’s decision to host the rally in Chicago, a place strongly contrasted with Trump’s audience, was all simply a strategy for media coverage. Perhaps the location was chosen knowing there would be protests, to highlight the protesters’ animosity. Or perhaps Trump simply wanted to stop by and admire the tower adorned with his name.

Whatever the reason is for Trump’s choice in location, Chicago’s rally will likely be one of many cancellations. With future locations, protesters and local law enforcement all varying, the only consistent factor left to blame is Donald Trump himself.

Sanaa is a freshman in Business.

[email protected]