Trump Speaks Out After Postponing Chicago Rally: 'I Don't Want to See People Hurt'

Thousands gathered outside the UIC Pavilion to protest the rally.

ByABC News
March 11, 2016, 9:56 PM

— -- Donald Trump said he postponed his rally tonight at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion because he feared for those gathered and blamed the anger of protesters on economics.

In three separate interviews Friday night on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, Trump explained his reasoning he didn't go through with the rally. In one, he said that no one has been hurt at his rallies, despite an incident being caught on video in which a rallier allegedly punched a protester in the face.

He also said that his free speech had not been protected.

"I just felt for the benefit of safety, I don't want to see people hurt. I cancelled it for tonight," Trump told MSNBC Friday night shortly after announcing his rally would be postponed.

At the rally, massive groups of protesters gathered outside the pavilion and following the postponement, clashes between protesters and Trump supporters broke out inside the arena.

It was not clear if there were any injuries, but police said there have been a few arrests, according to ABC owned station WLS. Most were inside the arena.

"You can't have a rally in major city in this country anymore without violence or potential violence," he added to MSNBC. "I didn't want to see the real violence. That's why I decided the call it off. I met with law enforcement. I decided not to do it. It's very tough."

Chicago police said that they did not talk to the Trump campaign and did not tell them to call off the event, according to WLS. Chicago police were first notified at 6:30 p.m. when they were notified by UIC and the Secret Service that the event was canceled, WLS said.

Trump has courted controversy for remarks appearing to encourage violence against the protesters who have increasingly been disrupting his rallies. At a rally in North Carolina earlier this week, a Trump rallier allegedly punched a protester in the face. The rallier has been charged.

At a rally in Las Vegas, the Republican frontrunner has said of a "disruptive" protester he would "like to punch [a protester] in the face."

However, Trump said on CNN he does not take responsibility and that until Friday night he "really never had much of a problem" with handling of protesters.

"No I don’t take responsibility. Nobody has been hurt at our rallies," Trump claimed, saying later: "Overall, I think we've been very mild with protesters."

"We have a country that is so divided, that maybe you don't even understand," he said on MSNBC. "I've never seen anything like it."

But Trump said that the anger did not appear to be directed at him.

"I don't think it's directed at me or anybody," he said. "It's directed at what's going on for years. It's on both sides."

Trump also said in an interview with Fox News Friday night that the anger and protests stem from the state of the economy.

"So this is very economic. This has a lot to do with jobs," Trump told the network. "It has a lot to do with incompetent running of a country."