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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Rally Postponed as Protesters Clash Inside Event; Security Ramped Up For Trump Rally; Awaiting Trump Rally as Protesters Grow; Rubio: Kasich Has Best Shot to Beat Trump in Ohio. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 11, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:55] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Security on high alert at a Donald Trump rally tonight. Protesters gathering in the streets of Chicago as the frontrunner is about to speak live. We're going to take you there.
Plus, Marco Rubio says vote for John Kasich in Ohio. Yes, I didn't misspeak. Governor Kasich is my guest tonight. And Jeb Bush's brother on why he is now working, campaigning, and fighting for Ted Cruz. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight breaking news. Protesters at this moment lining in the streets of Chicago outside a Donald Trump rally. The GOP frontrunner about to speak to a big crowd at the University of Illinois. This is the scene outside the line for tonight's event. OK? Rivals that of an iPhone. It reportedly started forming at 3:00 a.m. this morning. It's now 6:00 in Chicago tonight just to give you some context here. People who want to see Donald Trump. Hundreds of protesters though also are on hand now. Security is now ramped up. The Chicago police and Fire Departments are joining the Secret Service.
More than 300 faculty and staff members have asked the college to cancel the rally fearing the increasing level of anger and violence at recent Trump's events. Earlier today fists were flying at another Trump rally. This one was in St. Louis. Police there say they arrested 32 people. Some with injuries. All of this in the same week that an elderly white man sucker punched a black protester at a Trump rally. The older man later CNN that quote, "Next time, we might have to kill him." Trump addressing the violence at his rallies today saying it is the fault of some protesters who are, quote, "bad dudes."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've had a couple that were really violent. And the particular one, when I said, like to bang him, that you a very vicious -- you know, it was a guy who was swinging very loud and then started swinging at the audience. And you know, what? The audience swung back. And I thought it was very, very appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT tonight at that Trump rally in Chicago. Jim, people waiting for hours and hours, since 3:00 a.m. this morning.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
BURNETT: What are you seeing now? Who's there?
ACOSTA: Erin, there's already tension in the air here at this arena, on the campus of the University of Illinois. At Chicago, I can tell you, most of these rallies, we do see protesters but you know, the size of perhaps, a couple of dozen people, there is a whole section of protesters inside of this arena right now. They have been already clashing with law enforcement officials here, local security here. Nothing violent yet, but definitely some verbal back and forth between those protesters and security. We saw a group of protesters about an hour ago escorted out of the building by security.
As you said, Erin, the Chicago Police Department is clearly mobilized for this event. We saw dozens of police officers out enforce around this arena. We see dozens of police officers inside this arena. In just the last couple of minutes before we started talking to you, Erin, we saw, you know, basically protesters who were refusing to leave. So, you know, you have all the ingredients here right now for what could be a pretty unpleasant evening here at this Trump rally and Donald Trump is not even out here on stage yet.
As you said, civil rights groups, other progressive groups were staying in Chicago today that they were planning to disrupt tonight's rally. We're already beginning to see the start of that at this point. Now, as for Donald Trump, he's offering no apologies about these scuffles breaking out at these events. He is blaming the protesters. Even as you said, one of his supporters sucker punched a demonstrator earlier this week in North Carolina. And Erin, we should point out, despite what Donald Trump just said in that sound bite quite a few moments ago, of all the rallies we have covered during the course of this campaign, we have not seen any evidence of the protesters becoming violent. That is just not something that we're seeing. But even as we speak right now, Erin, there is tension between law enforcement, tension between the private security here and the demonstrators who want to act out during this event here in just a few moments -- Erin.
BURNETT: So, Jim, let me just ask you a follow-up question. We're hearing the chanting behind you. Protesters are chanting Black Lives Matter for those watching who can't discern the words. That's what they're saying. You know, you haven't seen protesters be violent. Now that this is becoming a bigger story and more people are talking about it, Jim, are you seeing more protesters? Are you seeing a different sort of protesters or is it really the same sorts of people even seeing all the way along?
ACOSTA: You know, in the beginning, it looked like it was just, you know, one person here, one person there, showing up at Trump rallies and trying to disrupt things. Now it does appear to be organized. You have special interest groups, the Black Lives Matter protesters. There are Latino groups here in Chicago who want to protest this demonstration tonight. And so that is something that is a development during the course of this campaign. You could hear some of the boos that are happening right now. That is from some of those supporters in the room booing these protesters. I have not seen up until this point at the campaign this large a number of people who are planning to protest.
It's clear that that's what they want to do here when Donald Trump comes out in a few moments. We should mention the Trump campaign is not worried about this at all. That's what they say publicly, in fact earlier today, Donald Trump say, he likes these protests because they spice up his events, he said. And he said, it would have just been boring all along. They have one long speech without interruption. So, clearly, he's inviting this. He doesn't mind the tension. He doesn't mind the charged atmosphere. The question is, whether we're building up to something that the campaign will later regret -- Erin.
[19:05:28] BURNETT: These moments when tensions are high, whether what he says is going to become so crucial. Jim Acosta, thank you. We're going to be going back to Jim as we said. This is a very, a different situation in many ways and we've seen it, Trump rally is a huge rally tonight and a whole area for protesters who have been booing and chanting before Donald Trump even takes the stage. One of the reasons as we're waiting for Donald Trump to come to the stage what he had to say to protesters -- one of the reasons they're lining up outside this rally is the Republican frontrunners anti-Muslim rhetoric. Language that has been sparking protests at Trump's events.
Chris Frates is OUTFRONT.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You told CNN, quote, "Islam hates us." Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims?
TRUMP: I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is doubling down on his controversial comments that Muslims hate America.
TRUMP: There's something going on that maybe you don't know about and maybe a lot of other people don't know about, but there's tremendous hatred.
FRATES: Trump is suggesting that many Muslims hate the United States drew immediate rebukes from his Republican rivals.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says because he says what people wish they could say. The problem is, presidents can't just say anything they want. It has consequences here and around the world.
TRUMP: You can say what you want and you can be politically correct if you want. I don't want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. We have a serious, serious problem of hate.
RUBIO: I'm not interested in being politically correct. I'm interested in being correct. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people who
represent radical Islam, they want to destroy everything that we're about and other Muslims who don't share their video, but at the end of the day we have to bring the world together, the civilized world.
FRATES: Trump's sweeping characterizing drew fire from across the globe. The Dubai police chief tweeted that Trump's elections could spark in ideological war between Islam and Christianity. Trump's harsh rhetoric about Muslims has been a constant on the campaign trail.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you that think Islam is at war with the west?
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. There's something there that -- there's something there -- that's tremendous hatred there.
FRATES: The Muslim Civil Liberties Groups called Islam to apologize to American Muslims serving their country.
NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS: We should not make America racist again. That was the past. We should make America greater again by working together.
FRATES: Donald Trump's controversial rhetoric fueling both his supporters and protesters here in St. Louis today. A large group of protesters had to be forcibly removed from the theater. One protester even being carried out by police -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chris.
And OUTFRONT now, Katrina Pierson, spokeswoman for the Donald Trump campaign. And Dean Obeidallah, contributor for The Daily Beast -- contributor radio show host, he is also a Muslim. Katrina, let me start with you. Anger, outraged at Trump's rallies. His anti-Muslim comments. He doubled down last night. Muslims hate America. What's the rationale for saying that?
KATRINA PIERSON, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think if we look at what's not being said is the fact that we have an administration right now that won't even acknowledge a problem that we're facing in the country and even utter the words that's actually hurting Americans right now and Christians for that matter, Erin. Mr. Trump was asked a question about Islam and he says that they hate us. And in fact, when you look at the culture in Islam in the United States, there is a clash. And that's why you see this brewing fight between United States Law versus Sharia law. It's a problem, Erin.
BURNETT: So, Dean, let me ask you. Obviously, I know you disagree. You're going to make your case. A recent pew poll though found that polled opinion of the United States in Muslim countries. Here are the numbers, 83 percent unfavorable in Jordan, which is an ally of the United States. 70 percent in the Palestinian territories. Sixty two percent in Pakistan.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, THE DAILY BEAST CONTRIBUTOR: True.
BURNETT: Those numbers on a surface level would seem to show they do not like America.
OBEIDALLAH: True. If you look at the favorable ratings in countries like Indonesia, that country that has most Muslims in the world, that same poll is about 62 percent favorable rating, higher than the way Americas viewed in Germany and equals the way we're viewed in Spain and in the U.K. You know, these polls -- how they're taken, it doesn't matter. Well, Katrina just said, there's Muslims in this country who want to impose Sharia Law. That's an absolute lie. That's a lie from the Trump campaign. There is no place for this in an American politics. We're living in a time where they say Islam hates America. Well, Katrina, have Donald Trump tell that with families of Muslim Americans who lost their children fighting in the Armed Services who are buried in Arlington National Cemetery like Catherine Kohn (ph) who got a Purple Heart for Valor.
Well, there are 6,000 Muslims serving in our military right now who were defending the right of all of us to have our freedoms. They love our country so much. They're putting their lives on the line. So, saying Islam doesn't love or Muslims don't love America, is an absolute unequivocal lie. That's what it is that we have to call it out.
[19:10:22] PIERSON: Mr. Trump is saying that there's a problem within Islam and I think if you see the vicious images of the Christians being beheaded and their children sold into slavery, the people that put them in cages and drowning for crying out loud, there is a problem. Since we talked about Jordan, let me just mention 72 percent of the Muslims in Jordan agree with the attacks against U.S. soldiers. Eighty seven percent of Egyptians agree with al Qaeda and they support Osama bin Laden at 69 percent. And the Palestinian territory, 78 percent support Osama bin Laden and almost 90 percent of these countries want Sharia Law. So, that's why they don't have a favorable opinion of America, Erin. They don't like our values and our culture.
OBEIDALLAH: You don't think it has anything to do with foreign policy grievances? Because every counterterrorism experts that I speak to talks about foreign policy groups. This is being the reason that -- in part of the world. Depends on the Muslim country go to frankly, let's be honest. Donald Trump says here in America Islam hates us. And he goes into Dubai and does multimillion dollar business deals that I wrote about in "Daily Beast" 2014 said --
BURNETT: The Dubai police chief today just saying, Trump could find himself in the midst of essentially a Holy War between Christianity and Islam.
OBEIDALLAH: But Donald Trump loves Muslims which he's making money for them --
PIERSON: News flash. That's already happening. It's already happening.
OBEIDALLAH: I know, Katrina. We don't want people here. But Americans have to hear this. Donald Trump does business with Muslims in Turkey, Indonesia, and Dubai. Makes millions of dollars. Loves them in their face there. Comes to America, the hypocrite that he is, and says here in America Islam is hate. So, he loves you when he's making money and demonize you when you're getting votes. He's a despicable hypocrite. Despicable type of hypocrite.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you a question on his motivation here, to both of you. So, I spoke to a man who does a lot of business with Donald Trump, has known him for 30 years, also does business with Saudi Prince Al-Waleed, one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia and who has said very, very negative things about Donald Trump says, he's not fit to be president because of his comments on Muslims. This man said that Donald Trump will not build the wall is one thing that he said. And when he talks about Muslims, he says he's not really thinking that will be the case. He won't ban Muslims. He doesn't hate on Muslims. He's saying this essentially to appeal to his voter base, Dean, his voter base -- by the way, Republican exit polls and the polls so far. Republicans favor banning Muslims. Support his 70, 63 percent to 78 percent of people. If he just pandering to the voter now and not going to follow up?
OBEIDALLAH: We have no idea, but we can't give Donald Trump a free pass for spewing hate. What he's going is, he's really attacking the fabric of our nation. Pitting people religion against religion. Pitting people ethnicity against ethnicity. There's no place, you know, the motto on our SEALs, E pluribus unum for many one. Donald Trump is the anti-thesis of that. Instead of bringing us together like a real leader would say, "The number one leader of ISIS is Muslims." Ninety five percent. Let's all unite to fight ISIS. Instead, he wants to divide us by faith the same way, the same way ISIS wants to divide us by faith, the same way ISIS tells their followers, join us because the West America hates you. And Donald Trump is saying, doesn't care and there's a consequences Katrina. I know Donald Trump doesn't care. Muslim Americans are suffering here. We are spike and hatred. Young Muslims attacked --
PIERSON: Dean, I have a question for you. Just one question.
OBEIDALLAH: Go ahead.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Katrina.
PIERSON: What is the "I" in ISIS stand for?
OBEIDALLAH: Well, what does the Westboro Baptist differ? The clan claims they are Christian organization -- just a year go --
PIERSON: What is the I stand for?
OBEIDALLAH: They burn the cross. They burn the cross, Katrina. PIERSON: I mean, the question here is about Islam. It's very important -- what does the "I" in ISIS stand for?
OBEIDALLAH: If you don't know, I don't have something to do about that. But I'm telling you, you know what they're saying -- it doesn't matter what they call themselves. We're in this together, Katrina. And if Donald Trump as a real leader would say, let's unite together as Americans against any kind of radical element, let's work together as a real leader then he would have the support of us the same way President Obama tries to build coalitions. That's the important thing. Marco Rubio made great points last night. Talk about the American Muslims that are buried in Arlington National Cemetery gave their lives for this country. Donald Trump needs to be better than this and he is not --
PIERSON: You are absolutely right. We are in this is together.
BURNETT: Final word, Katrina.
PIERSON: We are in this together. But in order to solve this problem we have to acknowledge where the problem is coming from. We have to put American citizens in this country first, which means we have to have an honest discussion about what's happening within Islam. The "I" in ISIS is for the Islamic State. That is the problem. That's what Mr. Trump is addressing.
OBEIDALLAH: I don't know what --
PIERSON: And for 15 years were in that war in the Middle East and these other countries are not stepping up and they're not helping and that is a problem.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. A passionate conversation of which there will be many more.
OUTFRONT next, Marco Rubio telling supporters to vote for John Kasich in Ohio. Will Kasich return the favor in Florida? Governor Kasich is my guest live, next.
Plus, Jeb Bush's brother speaks out OUTFRONT. Why is he campaigning for Ted Cruz tonight?
And Donald Trump claiming that Democratic voters are flocking to him in droves. Is it true? Well, our reporter went to find out.
[19:18:55] BURNETT: Tonight, Marco Rubio's campaign says vote for John Kasich. That's they're surprising message to voters in Ohio. Rubio himself admitting it is the best way to prevent Trump from winning the crucial state on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Clearly John Kasich has a better chance of winning Ohio than I do and if a voter in Ohio concludes that voting for John Kasich gives us the best chance to stop Donald Trump there, I anticipate that's what they'll do.
OUTFRONT now, our chief national correspondent, the host of "INSIDE POLITICS" John King. John, what could it mean for Donald Trump in Ohio now that Marco Rubio and his campaign are telling voters to support John Kasich there? Could that -- I mean, are people going to listen, could that move the needle?
JOHN KING, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now the bizarre day in the campaign. Now, Erin, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I guess. So, that's how this one works. Well, it moved the needle. Let's take a look. Donald Trump right now is at 461 Republican delegates. Tuesday is a huge day. Three hundred and sixty seven delegates at stake for the Republicans. If Donald Trump ran the board on Tuesday, look where it could get him. Just shy of 800 delegates. Somewhere in that ballpark. If he gets out here, Erin, he only needs 44, 45 percent of the remaining delegates.
If Donald Trump sweeps the border on Tuesday, the Trump train becomes a runaway train and the Never Trump movement probably runs out of guest. That is why Ohio is so important. You say what happens if all these voters go to John Kasich and the Governor wins his home state. Well, it would knock Donald Trump back some. Not a ton. But it would knock, just Ohio won for Kasich on Tuesday and Trump won everything else, then Trump moves back a little bit. At this point, he needs about 55 percent of the delegates from here on out. So, it does affect the math in a big way if Governor Kasich can take his home state.
BURNETT: All right. So, that's obviously crucial for Ohio. Now let's talk about Florida depending on whether or not Trump wins there. What is the delegate math look like? Florida obviously the biggest prize of Tuesday.
KING: That is why if you want to stop Donald Trump, you do want both of the home state candidates to win. You want Marco Rubio to win as well. Ted Cruz doesn't agree with that, but maybe Governor Kasich does. You can ask him in a minute I guess. If Rubio wins as well. If Rubio wins Florida and Kasich wins Ohio, this assumes Trump wins the other three states on that day. Look at what happened instead. Trump falls back. He's still way in the lead. He is still past the halfway mark to the delegates, but Rubio comes up some. Kasich comes up some.
From this point, Erin, Donald Trump would have to win 60 percent, maybe a little bit more than 60 percent from here on out. And at that point, if he has to win 60 percent of the remaining 1,000 delegates left after Tuesday night in this remaining states, at this point the Stop Trump movement thinks it has him. They think they can get him, deny him not the lead, but if they get him back to here after Tuesday night, they think they can stop him from getting to the magic number of 1237 come convention.
BURNETT: All right. John King, thank you very much. Proof as to why these states are so crucial.
And now as promised, let's go now to Republican presidential candidate, the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Governor, let me just start point -blank with this question. Do you think you have it? Are you going to win Ohio?
KASICH: Yes, we're going to win Ohio, Erin, but we take nothing for granted. We have very high approval here. We're up 400,000 jobs. Our credit is good. We're running a surplus. Wages are growing faster than the national average. So, I think the record is going to end up being the difference here. And look, I understand the state, but I want to tell you, Erin, we're leaving no stone unturned. We're crisscrossing the state. We're doing many town halls. Here's what's interesting for you. You've been a financial reporter. We're standing in a facility where the Chinese have invested $500 million and we're up over 1,000 jobs. It's pretty cool.
BURNETT: And certainly a different message of course as pertains China then we hear from your rival in Ohio Donald Trump. When you talked about strategy though, you know, you just heard Marco Rubio say, you've got a better chance of beating Trump in Ohio than he does. That's just the math, that's the polls, that's the fact. He says if his supporters in Ohio want to vote for you, they should go ahead and do that because that could keep Trump from winning Ohio. Will you return the favor and tell your supporters in Florida to vote for Rubio in the hopes of defeating Trump there?
KASICH: You know, Erin, look, when people are for you, it's pretty hard to tell them to not vote for you. But I'm not spending time in Florida. I'm here in Ohio. We've been in Illinois. And you know, you tell voters what they want. They're smart enough to make up their own minds. And, but, you know, I'm not going to get into business of telling people I really like you, but by the way, don't vote for me. But look, I'm not down there. And, you know, we'll just see how it all goes down in Florida.
[19:23:20] BURNETT: I understand what you're saying. All right. Let me ask you a question. Donald Trump, we just -- we're talking about how he's got this major rally going on tonight as you know. People were waiting since 3:00 a.m. this morning to get in in Illinois. You have protesters. And our reporter was just saying for the first time there's a whole area for protesters. Things are very tense there tonight. Donald Trump earlier today, Governor, was talking about some of the incidents of violence at his rallies and talking about how some of the people who attended these rallies were fighting back against the protesters. His quote was, you know what? The audience swung back and I thought it was very, very appropriate. What do you say when you hear that?
KASICH: Well, nobody wants to hear violence at any rally. You know, we don't have that. So, it's something I find hard to understand. You know, my message is really very unifying as you know. In fact, it must be so unifying that it must be contagious because if you watched the debate last night everybody was really positive. And, or trying to be positive. And so, you know, it's just something that's alien to me. I want to get into a room and give people a chance to make them believe that they can be something, that we can be hopeful, that we can be unified. And that is what I've done in Ohio. It's what I've done in Washington. It's what I did in Washington. And it's what I will do if I return to Washington as the president.
BURNETT: There is a report out, Reuters reporting blue collar Democrats are crossing over to vote for Donald Trump. Our reporter actually are going to be talking about this issue later on in the show. And they're saying lots of -- doing this. The political director for the Steel Workers Union in Canton, Ohio, says that it could be several hundred of his members that will back Trump. And he continues to say, quote, "A lot find him refreshing." He says, a lot of things they say around their dinner tables. Can you believe that Democrats in your state, Governor, Democrats in state of Ohio are coming out to support Donald Trump?
KASICH: Well, I don't want to get carried away with news reports. I can tell you that when I ran for re-election against a Democrat, I received 51 percent of the vote of union households. And by the way, and my whole family I grew up in a blue collar town. And I was there with working people. So, I'm not alarmed by reports like this because there may be crossovers. And I think a lot of these crossovers who come will vote for me.
BURNETT: And a final question. The "Wall Street Journal" today says, all right, say you win Ohio. They say that the strategy of cherry- picking states later in the primary calendar has been tried before to little success. They specifically mention Rudy Giuliani banking on Florida finishing third dropping out the next day. If you win Ohio, what's next, Governor? What other states are you going to win right away?
KASICH: Well, we're on the ballot, everywhere we can be in the country. And we're going to travel all across the country. And we have momentum, Erin. For the first time, people are finally starting to hear my message. We're rising everywhere. We're rising in Illinois. We're rising in Ohio. We're rising in Arizona. We're rising all over the country. And so, you know, the fact is, we'll run a national campaign. And let me tell you at the end we have 1,000 delegates to go. Don't be surprised that I go to the convention with the most amount of delegates of anybody who goes to Cleveland. We'll see.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Governor Kasich, good to talk to you.
KASICH: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Jeb Bush's brother is OUTFRONT. He's going to tell me why he is now joining the Ted Cruz campaign. And thousands of protesters at this moment massing on the streets outside that Trump rally tonight that we were just talking about. We're waiting for Donald Trump to take the stage there. There have been a lot of already calls of protests inside that stadium. We're live in Chicago.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:30:46] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Chicago
right now. Major security concerns at this hour. Donald Trump is holding a campaign rally there. Donald Trump, we are waiting for him to take the stage. Scores of demonstrators filling the streets outside the University of Illinois protesting the GOP frontrunner.
Our reporter inside, Jim Acosta, says that there is an area for protesters, saying that he feels a different tenor, feeling tonight inside. There's been booing going on, chanting going on, outside as you can see.
People have been waiting since 3:00 a.m. to get into this rally. Trump supporters into this stadium, which can fit up to 10,000 people. We're awaiting Donald Trump tonight, a very, very important night for the Trump campaign. And it comes as Trump faces growing criticism for violence e erupting at his rallies.
Boris Sanchez is OUTFRONT.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Get the hell out of here.
I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.
Out, out, out, out.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the moments Donald Trump seems to relish.
TRUMP: Bye. Go home to mommy. Go home to mommy. Tell her to tuck you in bed.
SANCHEZ: Talking tough to protesters who are increasingly disrupting his rallies.
TRUMP: If you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.
SANCHEZ: But now, the billionaire businessman is having to answer for is fiery rhetoric. At Thursday night's GOP debate, Trump was asked about this incident when 78-year-old John McGraw sucker punched an African-American protesters in North Carolina, later telling cameras --
JOHN MCGRAW: The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.
SANCHEZ: The Republican frontrunner said he had not seen the incidents, but he truly hopes his tone hasn't encouraged the violence at his rallies.
TRUMP: When they see what's going on in this country, they have anger that's unbelievable. There's also great love for the country. It's a beautiful thing in many respects, but I certainly do not condone that at all. SANCHEZ: As the number of violent incidents at Trump's events mount
RALLIER: Light the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
SANCHEZ: Trump continues to fan the flames.
TRUMP: I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
SANCHEZ: And while Trump says he does not condone violence, today, he did say sometimes protesters actions need to be met forcefully, describing this incident with the protester in Las Vegas last month.
TRUMP: He was swinging. He was hitting people and the audience hit back. That's what we need a little bit more of.
SANCHEZ: That 78-year-old man that punched the protester is now facing assault charges. We saw about 32 people get arrested today in St. Louis.
And, Erin, as you mentioned earlier, we're waiting to see how these thousands of protesters will respond to Trump's message outside the University of Chicago, rather the University of Illinois in Chicago. About 300 faculty and staff pleaded with the university to cancel the event fearing violence. So, we'll just have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Boris. As we said, we're awaiting Donald Trump. He is late. Usually, not always, more often than not he is on time. He is a half an hour late. We don't know if it is traffic, the crowds, as you can see, a lot of people there.
Our Jim Acosta inside estimating about 8,500 people or so. The stadium fits up to 10,000. There are a lot of people there. There is an area just for protesters tonight for the first time. He was talking about how many of them are there as well.
So, we're waiting Donald Trump. As we do that, I want to go straight to our senior political analyst, adviser to four presidents, including Reagan and Clinton, David Gergen, and our political analyst and editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast", John Avlon.
David, this is a very important night for Donald Trump in terms of what he chooses to say and do with any protest incident that happens.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is increasingly an incendiary situation, somebody is going to be badly hurt if not killed, unless he speaks out. It is the first principle of politics. A presidential candidate sets the tone for his rallies.
And he's got to do that. He has not done it. He's encouraged these kinds of reaction by his rhetoric.
[19:35:03] BURNETT: OK. I just want to interrupt you, only for just a moment, because they just made an announcement at this rally that we went to go to Jim Acosta.
Jim, what did they just say?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the Trump campaign just made an announcement. They have postponed tonight's rally here in Chicago. As you can see here, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of protesters on hand.
They were here to show up obviously to disrupt this rally. They were not weeded out as they were coming into this building. They were allowed to come in. And now, you can see this place just erupt into cheers among the protesters, but also Donald Trump supporters are shouting right back "USA, USA".
You can see there are people tearing up Donald Trump for president signs. I have never seen anything like this. You can see some of these protesters right in front of our camera right now, Erin. This place has just erupted into very loud cheers on both sides, supporters of Donald Trump who really just sort of look shocked and in disbelief right now and protesters who feel victorious over what's happened.
I've never seen anything like it. It's amazing.
BURNETT: Just looking at what's going on right now. You're watching some protesters fighting, talking.
I mean, John, as we're watching what's happening in front of us right now with these young women, this is unbelievable. An unprecedented moment just happening, that they have just postponed this rally because they were concerned that this would get out of control, that there would be violence.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it is stunning. It is surprising. You have people ling up since 3:00 a.m. Donald Trump --
BURNETT: Just to be clear, those are Trump supporters who are waiting to see their candidate.
AVLON: That's right. And, of course, Trump's whole rhetoric is, you know, he doesn't stand down, he doesn't shy away from controversy. If there are real securities concerns, we may get information like that in the coming hours, but he was already a half an hour late.
To cancel this big a rally this late in the game is a very significant move, and it's either motivated by security or something --
BURNETT: All right. I want to go back to Jim Acosta.
Jim, what are we looking at right now? What are you seeing?
ACOSTA: Yes, Erin, I'm off-camera right now because I want to show you those -- we've turned the camera around, panning around to the back of the arena. This is becoming violent. There is pushing and shoving going on inside this arena. People are throwing objects. Police are escorting people out, just moments ago, a very large crowd of supporters, protesters, media, it was simply rocking back and forth.
As my camera panned back over, you can see this large section of protesters I was referring to earlier. They're now shouting "Bernie, Bernie", obviously in support of Bernie Sanders.
Erin, I've never seen anything like this. This place has just erupted.
Now, you're hearing Donald Trump people on the other side of the arena yelling "Trump, Trump, Trump." The security does not have a handle on the situation here. It is total chaos.
BURNETT: This is a pretty terrifying thing, David. We're going to keep these pictures up. We're going to keep listening. Jim is going to come in every time something happens there.
That they don't have this under control. They had the police department, the firefighter department, the Secret Service. This was cancelled at the last second. This is a pretty stunning statement about this situation that this is happening now.
GERGEN: This has become a real test of Donald Trump's leadership. Tonight brings it to a head. He must act now. He must take charge of his own rallies and make it clear they have to be peaceful. He doesn't want anybody slugging somebody else, sucker punching somebody else.
If he has more rallies, you're going to see more of this. We saw this in the George Wallace campaign. This kind of fisticuffs occurred, violence occurred in the George Wallace campaign. He eventually wound out being shot. George Wallace got shot.
BURNETT: Can we just talk about that for just a moment, John Avlon, as to why they would cancel this so last minute? Is it because they are concerned about security? As Jim Acosta just reported, these protesters were able to just come in along with everyone else that was coming to support Donald Trump.
When you have this many people there, I would imagine you do not know who is there and what they're planning to do?
AVLON: Apparently not, but if the goal is to try to minimize the chaos and the violence inside the room, cancelling the rally a half an hour after it is supposed to begin, when you have nearly 10,000 people in a tight arena only increases the likelihood of some sort of significant disruption, which we are watching right now. You've got protesters and supporters already amped up, agitated in an enclosed arena with an event being cancelled. And that may be better optics for Donald Trump, but it's not necessarily better for the folks in the room, and you're seeing these hyper partisan passions spilling into fights on the floor of this arena right now. [19:40:06] BURNETT: This is pretty scary to watch. I mean, I want to
just emphasize to people again, this stadium fits up to 10,000 people. Jim Acosta, who's there, believes there were 8,500 or so. There are a lot of people in this arena. You can see these fights breaking out between Trump protesters and supporters.
Some of these as our camera is showing you, you do not see any kind of security anywhere around.
Jim Acosta, you're there.
ACOSTA: That's right.
BURNETT: How many of these fights are you seeing break out? How much security is there?
ACOSTA: Well, I want to say there was a decent amount of police officers here earlier on and private security people here earlier on. They were in a number that was able to keep the peace when it comes to a few protests here and there.
There is not enough people in terms of security posture that can handle what we're seeing right now. You can see behind me, there are literally hundreds of protesters behind me. They're obviously very excited because this rally was just cancelled here.
But at the same time, as David was just saying, as you guys were just talking about, these rallies have been building up to this point. We have seen rallies erupt into chaos on a very small scale, but we've not seen anything like this.
What I'm seeing over my shoulder right now is now you see a large contingent of Chicago police officers coming down that staircase over there. Can you see it? There's a large contingent of Chicago police officers coming down the staircase. They're coming in sufficient numbers to take care of this situation, or at least we hope so, because earlier on there was not the number of law enforcement or security personnel in here to prevent something like this from happening.
Down here, just down here on the floor, there's some more scuffling going on. There's a fight going on down here.
Erin, I'm -- nobody delights in this. This is a very sad scene that we're seeing. This is supposed to be American democracy in action. Instead what we're seeing is just total chaos.
We are seeing people just going at each other because of what has been happening at these rallies. You have such a charged atmosphere. The supporters are almost -- some of these supporters are almost looking for a fight and some of these protesters are almost looking for a fight.
In small numbers, the police, the security, they can handle someone like that, but not like this. There is just too many people here looking to cause trouble. I think really you can say that it is happening on both sides, Erin.
AVLON: Jim just said this is a tragedy because this is supposed to be American democracy. The tragedy is that perhaps this is representing a significant segment of American democracy right now, where hyper partisan passions have been so inflamed for so long that when you get a candidate who's been demagoguing to a conservative populist base and a liberal populist base turns out to confront in protest, it is going to be a combustible combination. And that's what we're seeing right now in a city which has a history of violence and politics in conventions in 1968.
BURNETT: Which is an important point, David Gergen.
GERGEN: It is, it is. And this may have -- the silver lining maybe this needs to force everybody to stop and take a breath and figure out how to proceed. A candidate ought to be able to hold rallies. He may have to ticket his rallies, other people have done that before. You come through tickets.
But he has to take responsibility if there's going to be threats of violence. He has to be the spokesperson for saying -- it happened in Sarah Palin campaign. There were a lot of racial things about Obama in the 2008 campaign and really nasty things. And we thought we were on the edge of violence here, and John McCain came out to his rally and said it is time to treat him with decency.
BURNETT: Jim Acosta, do you know -- they came out and said they were postponing it. Obviously, Donald Trump was a half hour behind. Is there any information as to why? Was there a specific threat? Is it just the overall environment? I would imagine he's nearby if not at the center right now.
ACOSTA: I would think so. No specific information as to why this event is cancelled, but you can tell as we were talking to you at the top of the hour there is a whole section of protesters here, hundreds of protesters. I think I was being conservative in that estimate. Right now inside this arena you probably have half protesters, half supporters.
We're at the University of Illinois at Chicago near downtown Chicago, basically downtown Chicago. This is a very racially ethnically religiously diverse campus. There were announcements in the news media all day long today from Latino civil rights groups, from progressive groups, from Muslim American groups, that they were planning on disrupting this rally.
[19:45:02] The question, Erin, I think the other big question -- I've talked to my friends in the local press here in Chicago. There is a wealth of venues in in the Chicago area. You go all the way out to the conservative areas of Chicago, there are arenas and venues where you can stage a pro-Trump rally.
Donald Trump for whatever reason decided to hold a rally almost in the lion's den. This is a very progressive city. Here we are seeing another scuffle break out. Erin, just the ingredients that are present here just did not make for
the right mix in terms of what Donald Trump wanted to have in terms of a positive rally. There's too many volatile elements here.
BURNETT: It sounds like what you're saying -- we don't know exact numbers. You're ballparking an arena that fits up to 10,000 people. You're saying half and half of protesters and supporters. So, we're talking about thousands of protesters.
ACOSTA: That's right. I believe we're looking at thousands of protesters inside this arena right now. There's probably about 8500 people on hand. We're seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters in here.
Gathered below me right now is a group of people who are pro-Trump protesters. They're saying we want Trump. We want Trump. We ought to show that as well. There are a lot of Trump supporters here as well.
I have to tell you, Erin, to position this rally on a campus as ethnically and religiously as diverse as this one, I think this was inviting trouble to some extent because there were so many announcements during the day that there were plans of protests at this rally tonight and nobody was being turned away.
BURNETT: Yes, and no one is being turned away, which is a significant thing. I suppose in some ways a positive thing that everyone is allowed to come in. That is important to emphasize.
We have a statement just coming in from the Trump campaign that I want to read as to why this has just happened. They cancelled this event. "Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago." I'm reading it now. "After meeting with law enforcement has determined for the safety of all the tens of gathered in and around the arena, tonight's rally will be postponed to another date. Thank you very much for your attendance and please go in peace."
GERGEN: That's nice. He can make a stronger statement than that, but it's the right thing. It does suggest there were security concerns. There were security concerns.
BURNETT: The context Jim Acosta just gave us I think is crucial and rather game changing here. You're talking about -- they said 8,500 people, 4,000 protesters in that arena.
GERGEN: Ten thousand people signed a petition against him coming. There were 10,000 people out there waiting to stop this. There was a significant number inside the hall. I think he did the right thing calling it off. You know, it might have gotten much more serious than what we're seeing right now with him in the hall. Having said --
BURNETT: You just saw someone rush the stage. Something truly horrific could have happened. I think it's pretty clear it was right to do to cancel it.
GERGEN: I doubt they had security procedures in place for all the people to go in.
AVLON: We don't know the details on the security precautions put in place, but clearly this is a situation that was going to get out of hand, that is getting out of hand, even in the absence of Donald Trump.
And a statement go in peace is better than nothing, but still too little too late. We're watching you reap what you sow. And if you run a campaign based on division and demagoguery and dividing Americans, us against them, and you try to hold a rally on a political campus on a campus in the heart of Chicago, you're going to get these kinds of outbursts.
These don't happen at John Kasich rallies. They don't happen at Marco Rubio rallies. They happen at Donald Trump rallies for a reason.
BURNETT: And they don't happen at Ted Cruz rallies either.
I want to bring in Neil Bush. Neil and I were going to be talking on this show about a lot of other things, but Neil is with me. I appreciate you coming on, Neil. Brother to George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, has endorsed Ted Cruz, joining his national finance team.
So, Neil, let me ask you what's you what you're seeing here. A stadium of 10,000, 8,500 people, called off due to security concerns, 4,000-plus our reporter is saying of protesters, people breaking out and fighting all around this arena. What's your reaction, Neil?
NEIL BUSH, BROHTER OF JEB AND GEORGE W. BUSH: It's shocking to me, Erin. I appreciate your having me on.
It kind of reminds me of the Democrat convention during the Vietnam War when people are out protesting. Chicago, I guess, has a history of that kind of thing.
You know, look, Donald Trump has used tactics that have raised an arm of very ardent fans for sure, but he has locked in a lot of people who just don't like him. I'm not saying the people protesting there in Chicago are Republican voters by any means.
[19:50:04] But there is a growing coalition of anti-establishment/Tea Party/Ted Cruz-type people and establishment folks that are rallying behind the candidacy of Ted Cruz to unify our party before the national convention so that we can have a positive message. We don't need Donald Trump to be the head of the ticket for this great country of ours to be represented by a man with such a giant ego and with so few solutions to the problems would be tragic.
And it is not in the nature of a Reagan or a Jack Kemp or George Bush Senior or George W. Bush to have someone who has this kind of behavioral challenge.
So, I think it's tragic. I think he brought it on, you know, because of his tactics that he's used to show that he is the tough guy that's going to be able to keep us safe from these threats. We are still the greatest country on the face of the earth. He is not the right guy to lead us forward, period.
BURNETT: So, let me -- so as we look at these pictures, you're seeing inside on one side of your screen, outside the Trump rally. As you can see, hundreds if not thousands gathered there.
David Gergen, what can Donald Trump do now to stop this? Can he step up and be statesman like and stop this? What does he do? They put out a statement. They said there were security concerns. They canceled this last minute. They said go in peace.
Does he do now? You advised presidents. What would you tell him to do right now?
GERGEN: He has to go to the country. He has to sit down in a calm way, a calm place through television and talk to the country about what he expects going forward. What he wants. He's going to have issue a clear call, which he has not done so far about having peaceful rallies. He only wants people to come in peace as well as to leave in peace.
And he has to be very strong or he will bear moral responsibility for the violence that may occur in the future. And we're heading in that direction, unless -- if he keeps holding rallies hike this and doesn't change the tone, we're going to have really, really tough situations.
BURNETT: Jim Acosta, I want to go back to you. It looks like we're seeing some people trying to clear out. A lot more police coming in.
ACOSTA: That's right, Erin. A few moments ago they announced over the public address system here that it is time to go. That the rally has been cancelled and it's time to go home. You can see there are dozens of Chicago police officers flooding the zone here.
They're coming in here to remove these protesters. A lot of the Trump supporters are starting to file out of this arena. It is a lot more empty here than it was even five minutes ago.
So, this may be wrapping up. The Chicago police appear to be getting control of the situation. But obviously, for a good, my goodness, 20 or 30 minutes, Erin, it was just absolute bedlam in here. Not enough security and law enforcement in here to get a handle on it.
BURNETT: At least 20, 25 minutes.
Can I ask you a question, Jim? I don't know if you know the answer but we're trying to figure this out live as we go. Do you know whether the people who are waiting, what level of screening they went through? Were they screened? Were they going through metal detectors? Do you know?
ACOSTA: Yes. Everybody was screened in terms of weapons and those sorts of standards. Procedures were carried out at these rallies. After all, the Secret Service is here, they provide security for these events. But at the same time, what wasn't prevented here and maybe it should be prevented, is that you have people who are obviously going to disrupt this rally show up, in terms of hundreds, if not thousands of people.
And that's exactly what happened tonight. These protesters stopped Donald Trump from holding a rally here in downtown Chicago. And like we were saying, we haven't seen anything like this during the course of this campaign. Yes, a scuffle here, a protest there. But not like this.
BURNETT: Not like this. Is this part of the democratic process? Someone should be able to have their rallies to do it. So, them stopping this is not a victory for the American process. It is an ugly thing.
GERGEN: It was terribly ugly. And I think we're on a dangerous precipice. The polarization we've seen in the country for so long has brought people increasingly to a point where they begin to hate each other and they demonize each other. And that's the unraveling of society when you get into that situation.
AVLON: Democracy depends on a assumption of goodwill among fellow citizens and that has been eroded, and the cancer of hyper partisanship is metastasizing in front of our eyes at rallies like this, and maybe Donald Trump can try to be presidential and walk it back.
But as your viewers saw earlier tonight, he has a history of statements of incitement. That's why for successful presidential presidents, historically, to send a message like Neil Bush's brother, a uniter, not a divider. When you flip that equation, ugly things happen.
BURNETT: So, David Gergen, what does though? I mean, because he can't continue. Whether you like him or loathe him, that's not the point. You can't continue if you'll have rallies where half the people will be protesters and trying to knock you off the stage.
[19:55:02] So, what do you do to have him be able to go ahead with the political process and hold these rallies? You ticket people, is that enough?
GERGEN: He needs to address this immediately, like tomorrow in a very public way. There's going to be a lot of fallout. We're not sure where it will go but you'll see people divide up as they go to the polls.
Some people will say, oh, my God, we can't elect this person. This is what Neil Bush and the kind of argument he makes. There are people will say it is ridiculous that they'll be able to shut down our candidate, we're going to go out in bigger droves.
And it's only increase the polarization. He says he wants to be a unifier? This is the test of his leadership to show that he can unify.
BURNETT: And, Neil, if you're still with me work that be something that would sway someone like you? Because you wrote in your op-ed, when you talked about backing Ted Cruz, he was not your first choice, he was not even your second choice. I'm not saying you'll abandon Ted cr. I'm simply making the point, that could Donald Trump win someone like you be over if you were to step up and take a very leadership, statesman-like stance on this?
BUSH: No, no. Definitely not.
Do you know what he will do tomorrow if he does it at all? And I hope he does address the issue. He's going to say, I'm a unifier. I'm the only guy that can bring everyone together. I'm the best.
He makes these broad generalizations like he's running for eighth grade class president and he doesn't really say anything of substance. He is not a serious candidate, sadly, and I'm sorry to say that. He's confiscated the Republican process.
There is still time though. There have been only 42 percent of the delegates allotted so far. Ted Cruz has received 29 percent of the popular vote compared to his 34 percent. So, who is bringing out these millions of voters?
So we need to unify our party. And he is clearly not a unifier. No matter what he says.
BURNETT: All right. Neil, thank you.
I want to go to Jake Carpenter. He is a photojournalist. He is outside this rally where now you're seeing thousands of people come from inside that arena outside.
What is the tone like? The mood like? Are people calm now? Have you seen fights, Jake? What are you seeing?
JAKE CARPENTER, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST (via telephone): Yes, we're not seeing any fights or anything like that. The tone, I mean, it is a protest out here. Everybody is pretty serious. The crowd is quite significant.
I can't see any size change over the last three, four hours that we've been out here. It's not growing. I mean, there are people -- I don't know if you're looking at my shot right now, but as far down the street, you're looking at here. That's the way it's been for hours. I haven't seen it at all.
BURNETT: Jake, what is the mix that you're seeing? We did see what you're seeing for the camera just a moment. Now, we're at an aerial shot. But we did.
What is the mix in terms of protesters versus supporters that you've seen and you're seeing now? Are you able to give as you general sense?
CARPENTER: So, from my position. I'm about 30 feet from the line. I'm not seeing any supporters for Trump out here. These are all Bernie supporters and just supporters of people, for anyone against Trump. You know, they're just -- they're just supporting free speech, anti-
hate, feel the Bern, using the messages, establish the (INAUDIBLE) and Spanish. Lots of different nationalities here. It's a very diverse group holding peaceful and the crowds are not going down at all over the last four hours.
BURNETT: And totally peaceful but just to be clear, it sounds like you're in an area where it is all protesters. So, you're amongst people who are on the same side.
CARPENTER: Correct, yes. You know, when I got out here about 3:00, you can see on -- I don't know if it's my shot up right on the right side of the screen.
You saw one side of the screen, they had the barricades for protesters. I know at some of these events, they like to have, you know, areas for the protesters, this is beyond that. This is higher (INAUDIBLE) in the sidewalks.
When we were in there, we were shoulder to shoulder for multiple blocks. I mean, we just have to maneuver your way through. So, all we're seeing are supporters, protesters, excuse me. We're not seeing anybody who's pro-Trump out here, at least not out on this side. Yes.
BURNETT: Jake, thank you very much.
Just as everyone know, this went on, Donald Trump was half an hour late, and then the surprise cancellation of this rally. And then about 20 minutes where we saw scuffle, punching, fighting inside, some pretty, very scary moments. Not enough law enforcement to fully deal with it.
But now, it looks like it is starting to dissipate. People are starting to leave. Calmer, we will see what happens and transpires over the next few minutes and as this night continues, a major night.
Let's go now to Anderson Cooper.