Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump Responds To Violent Protests; Trump Rally Called- Off As Protesters Clash; Donald Trump Speaks Live With Don; Obama Blasts Trump; Trump Rally Postponed Amid Chaos; Trump Postpones Rally Amid Security Concerns; Trump Supporters Clash With Protesters; Trump Cancels Rally Amid Chaos; Chaos At Postponed Trump Rally; Reporter Says She Files Charges Against Lewandowski; Trump Campaign: Accusation 'Entirely False'. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 11, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:06] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: For the breaking news this hour here on CNN.
Donald Trump is speaking out after his Chicago rally is postponed in the midst of clashes between protesters and supporters inside. Look at all the pictures of what happened earlier. And protest form the street outside right now. These are live pictures of Chicago. Is this what American politics has come to?
This is "CNN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.
As you can see it got really rock as in Chicago were Donald Trump is suppose to hold a rally tonight in that rally was postponed essentially called off. Let's go to the person who was there.
CNN's Jim Acosta, Jeff Zeleny also right outside the site. We'll going to start with CNN's Jim Acosta who is outside now. So Jim, what did you see happening?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don we saw this building up to the chaos that unfolded inside this Donald Trump rally that never happen. Essentially were occurred was you saw a hundreds if not thousands of protesters, essentially positioning themselves inside this rally before it began, in order to pull off some kind of disruption.
And just really after 7:00 p.m. your time, 6:00 p.m. our time, an official from the Donald Trump campaign came up to the podium and announced to this big crowd of people. It was 8,500 people. Mostly supporters, but some protesters that this event was going to be canceled. And as soon as that happen, the entire crowd inside that rally just erupted it just exploded into chaos. We saw scuffles breaking out. And several different areas you saw hundreds of protesters really filing on to the floor of that arena. And there were clashes between police and the protesters.
Between the protesters and the supporters, between the security personnel and the other people who are on hand. And essentially what we saw for several minutes, what we're seeing -- is something happening behind me right now. For what we saw for several minutes was that the police and law enforcement security officials who were there on hand Don were just not able, to get a hold of the situation.
And, so it just unraveled for a good 15 to 20 minutes. And, so we saw a dozen of Chicago police officers sort of file their way on to the floor that auditorium and start to bring this under control. Now as that was happening they were moving people outside of this arena. And as those thousands of people came outside of this arena then you have pockets of scuffles, pockets of disturbances outside of the arena and then Chicago police had to on non of the horseback on bicycles and large numbers start to drive the (inaudible) of supporters for Donald Trump (inaudible).
The protesters for Donald Trump away from the site, because it was really a very, very potentially dangerous situation. Right after I tell you ...
LEMON: I'm going to get back to you, Jim. I'll get back to you start viewing that, Jim, I'll get back to your. Donald Trump joins me now live on the phone. Mr. Trump, thank you for joining us. Tell us what happened tonight.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I got to Chicago a couple of hours ago. And we had 25,000 people scheduled for tonight. We're going to have a lot outside and inside. A tremendous gathering. And a real supporters and at the same time, we had some protesters outside which was probably 2,000 or 3,000.
And I met with law enforcement. I don't want to see anybody hurt Don. So I met with law enforcement and I think we made a wise decision to cancel. Now it's pretty well broken up and no major problems. And we made a decision even though our freedom of speech is violated totally. We made a decision not to go forward. I don't want to see anybody get hurt.
And you would have some people possibly getting hurt, or beyond. And so I made the decision in conjunction with law enforcement not to do the rally we postponed it.
LEMON: Do you think that you were -- the protesters have been expected tonight at your rally. Was your campaign prepared for this?
TRUMP: Oh, I think we were prepared. But, you know, you can be prepared as you want when you have thousands of people, you don't want to see attack ...
TRUMP: ... and they were minors comers is but no major clash. So we ...
LEMON: You've seen the pictures, I'm sure of what happen inside of that really. I'm sure you've been watching it looking at these pictures? What do you make of what you saw?
TRUMP: Well, I think it is a divided country. I think we have a very divided country, Don. And it's been all this a long time and it's very sad to see. It is divided among many groups. And frankly, it is terrible.
You look at a lot of people who are upset because they have enough salary increase in 12 years. You know, if you look at the workers of the country our jobs are being taken away. Our jobs are being sent to Mexico. And they are being sent also its divide the countries and our factories are closing we have a lot of problems. And the -- we don't have a real under employment rate of 5 percent. It's much probably closer with 25 percent because ...
[21:05:00] LEMON: Do you think, Mr. Trump, with all due respect you think that ...
TRUMP: ... our people as, you know, as people give up looking for jobs Don, all of a sudden they're considered employed, statistically. And so it's a lot problem ...
LEMON: Do you think that's what caused that directly tonight the scuffle?
TRUMP: Say it again?
LEMON: Do you think that caused the scuffle directly tonight because those people who were fighting weren't fighting over job?
TRUMP: Yeah. I think it is largely economic. I mean if you look at African-American youth, they have a 59 percent unemployment rate, 59 percent. And its, yeah, I think its largely economic problem. Absolutely.
LEMON: Do you think it has anything to do with the tone that some have said that you have set, by telling people that get them out or punch them on the face or they would, should be taken out on a stretcher? Do you think that you bear of any responsibility for what's happen at this tonight in the rallies?
TRUMP: I don't take responsibility. Nobody is been hurt in our rallies and we have, I had 25,000-35,000 people more than that. We had on the other day 25,000 in Florida and we've never had anybody hurt or certainly seriously hurt. We have I don't even know if we had anybody hurt so, you know, we have a tremendous large number of rallies and massive numbers of people. Nobody even close to us in terms of size. And great people that we will had protesters stand up and be very, very abusive. Unbelievably abusive.
And in some cases swinging and, you know, punching and swinging and not a good situation. And I think we've been overall, I think we've been very mild with protesters. Then some will stand up and we're just usher them out. And, you know, it is not me that ushers them out is the police force. And the police had done great job.
So until today, we've really never had much of a problem. Now we were say lagfest (ph) today, we had a packed house. We had thousands and thousands of people that frankly couldn't get in. And we had a few protesters. It was not a big deal. It was individual protesters standing up. There were quite a few of them. Seven or eight of them. I would say, you know, seven or eight incidents is which was fine. And we had all everybody had a good time. I hope the protesters had a good time, to be honest with you. Nobody hurt.
LEMON: So, I want to ask you a question that my colleague Jake Tapper asked you last night in the debates. Do you believe that you have done anything, Mr. Trump, to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?
And, I'm going to add to that by saying, if your words and your tone inspire people to vote for you, to come to the rallies to go to the polls and vote, why wouldn't those same words inspire people to violence?
TRUMP: Well, I hope that my tone is not that of causing violence, because my basic tone is really that of securing our borders, of having a country and having a great country. Or bringing our jobs back or bringing our manufacturing back on. Of getting people jobs, that includes African-American youth where you have a 59 percent unemployment rate.
So I would hope that -- is not way, you know, I hope I certainly don't do that. I will say, we have tremendous success with people. You see the kind of polls you see the kind of, you know, popularity that we have in the rallies themselves as well, I mean is a lagfest (ph) in the rallies themselves, that nobody has ever seen anything like it, you've been reporting about. And, you know, the cover the "Time Magazine" ...
LEMON: Let me just read something.
TRUMP: There's great love, Don let me just finish by saying. There is great love in those big stadiums and there is great love there.
LEMON: But there are protests that ...
TRUMP: At the same time when there's a clash, who are potential clash like tonight, I think did I the right thing. I'm here, I meet I came here and met with law enforcement. And I said what do you think? And they're very professional and they said, it would be better not to do it, because if you do it tonight, you could have a clash and people could get hurt. I don't want to see people get hurt.
LEMON: I heard you say. I heard your tone was different last night at the debate. Much more presidential. You said that you wanted to be a uninor-in-chief rather than a divider-in-chief. What happened at this rally tonight? Certainly it wasn't a lagfest (ph) as you have said. You know there was a lot of lag.
In the past, let me tell you some of your own words you have said at your rallies. That people should knock the crap out of a protester. That you pay the legal fees, you talked about people being brought out on stretchers. Also you said that you would like to punch a protester in the face. You've insulted all kinds of people, according to what people believe by saying that Mexico is sending over rapists. That Muslims shouldn't be allowed in this country. This should be a moratorium for a while. Do reg -- you regret saying any of those things? Especially the things that you have said about punching protesters, sending them out on stretchers.
TRUMP: No. I don't regret it at all some of these protesters were violent, there were swinging, there were hitting people and they were really doing damage. And frankly the crowd turns on them or the police said turned on them in most cases it was the police.
[21:10:04] And I would absolutely on occasion usually I said please don't hurt them, please take it easy because, you know, elevated and being, you know, looking down at audience usually I'm higher than the audience so they can see.
What happens is I'm able to see the protesters, I'm able to see what's going on. And, you know, generally speaking, it's very mild. But on occasion, and the occasions that you said I still up very, very strong, very violent protesters hitting people. And yeah, I'm not happy about that and I would always express my feelings about that and ...
LEMON: Our reporters who follow you, Mr. Trump and who have been very fair with you have said that they have not seen protesters attacking anyone. If anything it is the other way around that protesters are being attacked after they start to protest or to anyway disagree with you. But they're not -- protesters are not the ones who resort to violence first. It is ...
TRUMP: It's totally, you know it is not true when you say that statement Don. You know it's not true.
LEMON: I don't know exactly. That's why I'm asking.
TRUMP: They'll stand up and they'll start swinging at people and matter all said, the first I seldom, I mean 10 percent of the cases. But we have some very rough dudes as protesters. We had one that his voice was like Pavarotti, Luciano Pavarotti I think was a tough guy and he was swinging and hitting people and then people turned on him and started swinging at him.
And ultimately they were successful and we got that publicity forward. It wasn't their fault. I mean this guy was a pretty tough cookie and a very loud guy. I don't mind the loud. But he was very violent. And the next day he was like he was an innocent little lamb and I saw what happened he was very violent. So we don't go in there in person, they start and usually it's not us anyway, the usually it's the police.
I mean we had police forces all over the country who done a fantastic job. But usually the police faults. So that's the latest (ph).
LEMON: Well, though the protesters say will that's only highlighting why they're protesting about the police. Is that police are being heavy handed in their communities and now are being heavy handed at your rallies? So it seems to be making their case if that is indeed what you're saying right now.
TRUMP: Let me just say, let me tell you how unfair things are like. I'm watching CNN right now and I'm seeing the same scene on CNN for the last hour and a half. So the same, you know, in other words, you take the worst scene.
If you really look at it, if you really want to look at it, most of the people have dispersed. And we made a great decision not to have the rally. If you continuously show the same scene, the guy in the green jacket taking this swing at somebody else and all of the -- I've been watching it for the last hour. More than an hour.
LEMON: Of course we do. And there is a distinction about ...
TRUMP: You shouldn't be showing the same one scene over and over again. You should be showing it live.
LEMON: What we're doing is showing an example of the violence that happened. Just as, when you're on a campaign trail, you use examples of the worst of things in order to make a point. And so now we're looking why ...
TRUMP: But you don't have anything saying that it's not live. And frankly, its Donald Trump speaks live with Don.
LEMON: OK. So this -- what you're looking at right now is live.
TRUMP: You're showing the scene that took place two hours ago Don and that's not good reporting, it's not fair.
LEMON: What you're looking at right now is live, Mr. Trump. This is live. These are the streets of the Chicago outside.
TRUMP: Right now, it's live, yeah, but if you look that, that's a very small portion of the people. Most of them have been dispersed.
LEMON: So just to be clear, I want to ask you ...
TRUMP: You say there's very few people hurt. And we should be given credit for that. We made a very wise decision. As opposed to going forward, you know, leaving and postponing it for another time was a wise decision.
Now at the same time, all of the Trump supporters have been really treated unfairly. Because the First Amendment says we have a right to speak. I mean we have a friendly rally. We have a right to speak and we were stopped from having that right of freedom of speech.
LEMON: Are you going to postpone every rally because of the threat of protesters?
TRUMP: What would you like me to have them Don and you would like to see people killed?
LEMON: I'm just asking you the question. Are you going to do it?
TRUMP: I don't know. It depends on case by case. But I mean, if would you like me to have them and people would have been hurt badly tonight, I mean again, I'm looking at scenes that you know, just a little while ...
LEMON: This is live. Mr. Trump you're looking at these are live scenes.
TRUMP: No. No. I'm talking about I've been watching all these scenes ...
TRUMP: ... so many times ago and they're two hours old.
LEMON: Mr. Trump I have to ask you just for clarification.
TRUMP: Most of the people have been dispersed and we've been given great credit. And law enforcement gave us great credit for making the right decision.
LEMON: Mr. Trump I just have to ask you just for clarification. You have no regrets about anything that you have said?
TRUMP: We have had great success. We have fantastic support. And we have fantastic supporters.
[21:15:03] We have said wrong things when people were wrong. When people were wrong, we have said some very, very strong things.
Now, getting back to before tonight, when I talk about the illegal immigration, I have no regret whatsoever. If I didn't bring up illegal immigration, it wouldn't even be a subject of the campaign, Don. It's become a very, very important subject. And if I didn't bring it up, people wouldn't be talking about it.
And frankly, it's really hurting our country badly in a lot of ways from a crime standpoint, and from an economic standpoint and from a drug standpoint. Drugs deporting into our country through the southern border, it's hurting our country very, very badly.
So, if you think I should say, oh gee, it's too bad I brought up the problem of illegal immigration at the southern border in particular, I am not all I'm very proud ...
LEMON: What about in particular the things that you have said in rallies about this taking them out in stretchers and that sort of thing. Do you have any regrets about what you've said about these ...
(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: These were bad -- no I don't have regrets because these were very, very bad protesters. These were bad dudes. They were very rough tough guys. And they did a lot of damage before they were taken out. And they were not taken out on stretchers frankly. They weren't.
They ended up doing damage. Nobody talks about them. Nobody mentions when the protesters are violent protesters. And that happens, that it happens not often but it happens. And what it does, I will talk about that protester much differently than I talked about most where we just have fun.
LEMON: OK, I have to ask you this Mr. Trump. David Gergen says that the candidate sets a tone for the campaign, OK.
But my question is that you say that you want to be a unifier, a unifier-in-chief. You say you can be presidential in show leadership moving forward, what are you going to do about this?
TRUMP: Well, I don't like seeing violence at all. I'm not a person that wants to see violence. I'm not a person who wants to see people hurt. And that's why I put up the statement before and we said go home in peace.
And that was important to me and put that down. So I'm not somebody that wants to see that you have certain groups that are agitating groups is that also, you know, these are people that cause problems. And they have caused problems. And they're happy to cause problems. And they stop the right of free speech for other group that are totally non-violent groups of people.
But people nevertheless, they're not angry people but they're very angry right now about the way our country is run. They are very angry in the fact that our jobs are going to Mexico and China and Japan and every other country except ours. They are very angry ...
LEMON: Do you think it would help, Mr. Trump if you met with some of these protesters and try to understand what they will say?
TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't mine meeting them if the meeting was in good faith. But, you know, a lot of them don't, they just have fun of it. They make this a career, I mean this is a career. Protesting is a business for them.
LEMON: But it doesn't happen like ...
TRUMP: If I thought I was meeting with people. Because I know more about protesters than you'll ever know. OK? I've been having protesters all my life. I've been having protesters on construction sites for years and years and years. I know more about protesting and protesters than you'll ever know, Don. And I will tell you, I don't mind meeting with protesters as long as I know that they're in good spirit and they're not professional agitator.
LEMON: So if you were willing to meet with them, as you said, what would you say to them?
TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't say it to you right now what I say to them because I wouldn't do that. I don't want to waste a lot of people's time and the audience's time. But it depends on the situation.
But I've had protesters all my life. I've never had any problems. And frankly, I think we did a good job tonight. I think a lot of people were giving us a lot credit. That instead of knowing and would have been actually much easier to do going in making the speech. Perhaps having some is the major clashes and certainly maybe the real problem was going out, you know, we had 25,000 people that signed up and wanted to come.
Now we were able to keep many of them away by informing them earlier. That was going to be doing wrong, was going to be doing. But, you know, a lot of people are giving us a lot of credit.
LEMON: Will you tell your supporters to ease up on the protesters? On the violence?
TRUMP: Well, the protest is a really, a very -- some of them are very violent and I'm not even sure if they can control themselves. I think the people that are at our place are, you know, I fill up stadiums with 35,000 people.
Last week we had 25,000 people in Florida. You know, I had very large rallies and this tremendous support. And you know it better than anybody. You'd cover it but there's tremendous support. And I have to tell you Don, there's a lot of love in the room. People love the county, they want to see the country, you know, might the whole theme is make America great again. While this tremendous support thus ...
[21:20:00] LEMON: But, Mr. Trump, the reason I asked you the question earlier about your tone and how you inspire your people obviously you have inspired people thousands and thousands of people every single say to show up that rallies all over the country they're coming to see you.
If your words can inspire them to cheer, to go to the polls and vote to speak out for you. Don't you think your words in some way can inspire them to violence and incite violence as well? Don't you understand that you can say in one tone, well I'm getting people to vote for me ...
LEMON: ... but my words have meaning but, you know, on the other hand my words don't have meaning when it comes to another particular issue.
TRUMP: Yeah, well I certainly don't incite violence and I certainly would -- I don't go with violent I don't talk about violence. Now, if a protester is hitting a woman or protesters swinging his fist at a man or a group of men, and if they end up going back, I'm not looking to do help any favors frankly because that's the way life is.
LEMON: Yeah. TRUMP: But I certainly don't condone violence and it's not acceptable to me.
LEMON: Yeah, well, Mr. Trump, thank you so much for coming on. You know, you're always welcome here to say your piece on the show and we'll always treat you fairly. Thank you sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much Don, thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in now political analyst Maggie Haberman and who's also a political analyst for CNN and you are the presidential correspondent for the "New York Times" as well.
What do you think of what he said? He said he's not inspiring protesters or violence I should say at his rallies, his words are not inspiring because people to come out and be violent.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And he's been saying a version of that for many, many weeks. And at the same time he also says -- again, and I was very struck by this at the time. He said at a rally in Las Vegas at the end of February. As a protester, was being taken out by a security. And this is what he was referring to when he says the protester was very violent. I'd like to punch that guy in the face.
Now, he says that person was swinging at other people. Our reporter who was there did not see that. It doesn't mean it didn't happen, but I have not heard of anyone who did see it and this is often what Donald Trump says about why it is OK for a certain reaction to happen.
Well there was an action so there has to be a reaction. His tone was exactly what I would have expected tonight which was no regrets basically, no concerns ...
LEMON: Those voters who were at those rallies to see him as backing down or that he's changing as a candidate.
HABERMAN: His whole mantra is a great counter puncher and I have to project strength. We have to project strength so this doesn't surprise me at all.
LEMON: You spoke with him just before the rally, what did he say?
HABERMAN: Yeah. I spoke to him at about 6:00 p.m. our time which was 5:00 p.m. in Chicago and he was heading to the rally and he mentioned that were expecting to be rough was his word. They were clearly aware of the protest, he did not mentioned that they were considering cancelling it. He did not mentioned -- I don't know at that point whether he had met with Chicago PD or were they were in the considerations, but he didn't bring it up. It was clearly on his mind though that they were going to be massive numbers of protesters.
Look, to the point that it's been made throughout the night, protesters came to break up his event. LEMON: Right.
HABERMAN: Protesters came to make noise, protesters came to be disruptive. Possibly get arrested.
LEMON: That's what protesters do.
HABERMAN: And that is what protesters do, they are breaking the law when they do it, they can potentially get arrested, there is no question.
But it is hard to both say I'm not inciting violence, we're not condoning violence. Let's put it there, while also saying in the good old days, protesters would get carried out on a stretcher. In the good old days, they would be treated very, very rough. That's what he said in North Carolina the other night in Fayetteville.
You do see a pattern about and I do think that for a very long time, Trump has said things like this at his rallies. For many, many weeks, remember there was that incident -- initial incident with the -- a Black Lives Matter protester getting hit and punched at a rally of Trump back in the fall and when Trump, got asked about it the next day. He said maybe he deserved to get roughed up.
That controversy was Trump was headed by another controversy which was Trump talking about claiming that they're had been thousands and thousands and these were the Muslims cheering on the falling of the Twin Towers on September 11.
So he has been saying things like this for a while and it hasn't been getting that much attention and it had something of a normalizing effect on it and now all the sudden you see in a major -- at a University in a major city, there was a massive organized effort. And I do wonder what will happen going forward.
LEMON: How does this affect the campaign going forward? Is it make it harder for Donald Trump to campaign as someone who can unify a country, you know, in a general election?
HABERMAN: I mean, I think that he is going to continue to say I want to be a unifier. You saw him say, at the debate last night, you know, that we needed to unify. He talked this morning at his press conference with Ben Carson about how it was very important to moved pass the debate. He was acting very much like a presidential nominee.
I think that you are going to see him because if you say that. But it was funny when I spoke to him earlier, when he was on his way to this rally.
[21:25:00] He asked for it I thought of the debate and he said that he prefers the tone of the other debates that, you know, last night was sort of suede that's my word not his, but he said he actually prefers the other more combative ones. That is the tone he prefers.
Look he is right that he has had protests to this construction sites for adjust to his building. This is not new to him but this is a whole different order of magnitude. What is striking about tonight ...
LEMON: He was not running for president in that time?
HABERMAN: Correct and what is striking about tonight was not just the enormous volume of protesters who showed up, but the degree to which the campaign and the police department frankly seemed unprepared for it. Even though it had been forecast for many, many, many hours.
So I don't know how if he goes forward. You asked him, are you going to cancel other rallies? He has now said to the president, right, I mean, Trump is basically dictated the terms in this debate for literally months and this is the first time they were dictated for.
LEMON: Because leaders of some of the protests tonight. I don't know if it was one organization or a number of organizations probably all coming together. But saying, they're declaring victory ...
LEMON: ... and getting Donald Trump to post both or not postpone, to cancel this rally. There will be another one, but essentially this one is over. It did not happen tonight. Donald Trump did not show up. But they're saying this is a victory.
HABERMAN: And I would expect them too and I think that essentially again what Donald Trump does at his rallies and his rallies are really how he communicates with his voters. Those in his interviews, he does not do small retail events, like oh like many other candidates do. That is how he create -- has a command of the room and an illusion of control and I think the protesters have been disrupting that slowly but with more force of course over time.
LEMON: Maggie Haberman, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Certainly an interesting turn of events ...
HABERMAN: Yeah. Indeed.
LEMON: ... and as I should say and interesting election sees and happening now.
The beaking news happening right now in CNN, you're looking at live pictures from Chicago. Tonight that's a rally -- a Donald Trump rally in Chicago called off in the wake of protest inside and outside of the arena.
We have correspondents, reporters, producers on the scene. We're going to have live information for you coming up and pictures.
Plus, what President Obama said about Donald Trump before the chaos tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're shocked that someone could be loose with the facts, or distort someone's records. Shocked, how can you be shocked? This is the guy remember he -- who was sure that I was born in Kenya.
[21:31:22] LEMON: We are following breaking news tonight, it's outside of Chicago and you're looking at the live pictures, it's outside this Trump event. It was supposed to be an event. He didn't show up. He canceled it. But there were protesters and supporters there. Donald Trump responds to the violence. The protesters at his postponed rally tonight.
And we want to go live to CNN's Jeff Zeleny. He is on the streets of Chicago for us right now.
So Jeff, wow, what a crazy evening here. I'm sure you heard Donald Trump at the top of this broadcast. Tell us what you're seeing right now.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well Don, one thing I was struck by tonight, just walking among the protesters here, was the diversity of these protesters.
You know Chicago very well. I used to live here as well. And I was struck by the diversity. We had black and white, Hispanic, Asian, young and old. A lot of families came out. It was a very organized protest, and orderly protest, at least outside.
We of course have seen the images inside. But what I was struck by, this was a community protester. As I was walking with some of these protesters, they were saying that this is a historic moment for Mexican-Americans to rise up against Donald Trump.
And I was walking with a gentleman here who lives in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, the biggest Mexican-American neighborhood in Chicago. And he said that this is Chicago's duty to rise up and stand up to Donald Trump.
So it's different from other Trump events that I've been at throughout the summer and the fall. We've seen a lot of Black Lives Matters protesters. This was different tonight. At least outside. This was different. This is the City of Chicago that was at least some people in the City of Chicago, rising up.
And it's interesting. It's on the eve of the St. Patrick's Day parade tomorrow in Chicago, Don. And it's interesting if you think about, you know, generations ago, the immigrants who came here to this city were seeing a similar thing here now with these Mexican-American immigrants. Chicago is such a diverse town, which certainly has, you know, has problems of its own.
But tonight, I was really struck by just how Chicago centric, how diverse this crowd of protesters were, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, Jeff Zeleny.
ZELENY: And you can see behind me now, Chicago police are largely leaving and again very orderly at this point. There were some clashes before was Trump supporters leaving some things. But all the police now, dozens of police are now leaving the area.
LEMON: And most of -- most of the protesters and supporters are gone, right, gone about their business, Jeff.
ZELENY: Absolutely. The streets are be quiet now, just a few people hanging out. But the protesters, you know, are leaving and it is going to be another parade tomorrow, that great Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade. Very different than this, but also, so, so connected here ...
ZELENY: ... as we think about the bigger picture here, this tapestry of diversity.
LEMON: Where they will turn the Chicago River green tomorrow as they do every year. It's their tradition.
Thank you, Jeff Zeleny ...
ZELENY: Thanks as well.
LEMON: ... on the streets of Chicago.
Joining me now, Phil Musser, Republican Political Consultant, Kayleigh McEnany, Conservative Columnist for "Above the Law," CNN Political Commentator Bob Beckel, the author of "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving Politics, T.V, and Addiction," and Political Contributor Van Jones.
OK. Here we go. So what do you all make of what we saw tonight at this Trump rally?
Kayleigh, you first.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, this is proof tonight that Donald Trump can do the right thing and he will still be criticized. Tonight, he did exactly what he should have done. He shut down the rally. He didn't want violence. He said so repeatedly in your interview with him and the statement he released, at the very end of it, he said, ''Please go in peace." He did the right thing this evening.
And instead of the story being 10,000 protesters showed up, disrupted the First Amendments rights of Donald Trump and Trump supporters. And then all the damage -- damages on the screen right now, you're not seeing people in Donald Trump shirts causing the rock in (ph) ...
[21:35:04] LEMON: But Kayleigh ...
MCENANY: ... you were saying the protesters.
LEMON: ... let me say this. I don't -- who is criticizing him? I haven't heard anybody criticize Donald Trump tonight. MCENANY: Many pundits on this very network have criticized Donald Trump. And in fact on the last show, one of the pundits said that Donald Trump wanted the violence that happen this evening. That's just not true.
And I can tell you this, if 10,000 Tea Party activists had showed up at a Bernie Sanders rally and acted this way, those same pundits would be criticizing the Tea Party and would be calling out anyone who called on Bernie Sanders for being responsible for that.
LEMON: Van Jones, do you believe that to be true? No Van Jones. Bob Beckel, do you believe that to be true?
BOB BECKEL, CNN POLTICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I tell you, what strikes me first of all is that their four of the most important days, campaign days for Marco Rubio and John Kasich and now Donald Trump once again is dominating the entire new cycle. The -- I think they did the right thing by turning the things out. It didn't seem like to me that they were very prepared for it despite the warning.
But you know, the interesting thing about it is. Is it, I think Trump supporters will get angry about this in a way that may very well ironically turn out more Trump voters in Florida and Ohio.
LEMON: Of course. Of course, I mean, it always happen that's way that something always happens in Donald Trumps favor. It just the way of political ...
BECKEL: It's amazing.
LEMON: ... we are all right now. So Van Jones, you heard Kayleigh saying, you know, Donald Trump is being criticized for not on this show, maybe another shows, maybe she's right. I don't think the headline from the story has been written, at least when it comes to live media because we're busy covering it as it happens. We're busy covering the game, or the horse race so to speak.
So what do you make of what happened tonight?
VAN JONES, CNN POLTICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I do think that certainly Mr. Trump should be commended for calling a rally off. But his words which were just celebrated by Kayleigh in saying go in peace. If those words are to be commended, then the rest of his words also have to be examined.
And I was shocked -- I know he's probably watching right now. I just I want to say to you Mr. Trump as a father, I don't think you would have accepted that explanation from Ivanka or even from little barring. If you are in a situation where you say, nobody has been hurt at your rallies. And yet we have videos of somebody being cold cocked at your rallies, that's not acceptable. If that's a death it's not acceptable.
You say there are violent protesters swinging at people at your rallies. But there's not one video showing that, because video after video of non-violent protesters being beat up. If that a death, that's not acceptable.
You say that your words, that saying go in peace, I should be -- I've given so much credit. But you don't take any responsibility for the impacts of your words saying you want people to go out in stretchers.
I am speaking to you sir ss possibly the next president of my country. The president of a country my children have to grow up then. And I don't see you taking responsibility.
What I would say is this. With great power comes great responsibility. And it is in fact true that some of the people who came there came there to be disruptive. And they have to take responsibility for that. But you also have to take responsibility for the fact, no one is disrupting Cruz rallies, no ones disrupting Rubio rallies, no ones disrupting Kasich rallies.
LEMON: But Van I think what you are saying ...
JONES: ... is that for some reason ...
LEMON: Van I have to said that ...
JONES: ... to your rallies.
LEMON: I have to say that, people do disrupt other rallies. It just does not turned violent in the way that it does with Donald Trump rallies. And maybe people don't disrupt as much but I have seen other examples of rallies that are being disrupted.
JONES: But it doesn't turn as violent.
LEMON: Phil Musser, I have to ask you. What responsibility does Donald Trump have when it concerns the protesters or the violence at his rally?
PHIL MUSSER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Look, Donald Trump did the exact right thing here guys. I mean, I'm taking off the Republican hat, I'm taking up the strategist hat. This could have turned into a Molotov cocktail. Where people could have been really hurt and killed.
This was a situation where there was obviously an organized plan to disrupt this event in a massive whole scale way. And he did exactly the right thing. As a leader, he made the exact right call because our country is at a time and a place where the wrong kind of spark could turn into just a massive conflagration of fire.
And here we are in March with Donald Trump drawing rallies in 25 to 35,000 people. Remember the election is in November.
LEMON: Not to cut you off, but I have to ask you this.
LEMON: I have to ask you think. If you said that, you know, in this spark. My question really was, what responsibility does he have? But you're talking about that he did the right thing. As Van Jones as said. He should be commended for calling up the rally. OK?
MUSSER: And we get that.
LEMON: So what responsibility does he have? If you say, any little thing can spark something. He has no responsibility in that-- any little thing can spark something at all?
MUSSER: I think anyone who is in the public arena has a responsibility to speak to the higher angels in our country and to the degree that words matter I think you started to see a tone and a move toward inclusion from Mr. Trump.
[21:40:05] He talks about a way to bring people together and honestly that's going to be where -- that's going to be where we go, right. That's got to be where we go Don.
BECKEL: Listen I can't stay silent during the state, what Don asked Trump if he would say at his rallies, let us have peaceful organization here. Let's try not to react negatively to demonstrators and he refused to do that. He said, it didn't say, we'll do it.
Now what in the world is wrong with doing that? That guy he think he's got good politics for this stand point, but he was given an opportunity by Lemon to say, yes, I will say, this is the wrong thing to do, the wrong way to react and he didn't do it.
JONES: And one thing I just want to say it, I don't understand, there was a video, it showed a man being cold cocked. Today Donald Trump had the opportunity to say, "Listen, I don't want that people called cook at my rallies", in fact he said the opposite, that the other thing that we have reported on, this was the most it happened in the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago at one of the most diverse campuses in the country.
And so you're talking about going into a situation where people have learned how to live together. Haven't you saw people of all different colors. I don't understand why he did not take the opportunities the day to say, very clearly before he came to Chicago, I don't want that guy getting called cocked, in fact he said it was appropriate. That I think is irresponsible on his part.
LEMON: Kayleigh, I know ...
MCENANY: And Van, shouldn't he -- yeah, he never said it was appropriate for someone to cold cock another person and reference to that ....
JONES: That exactly, it that's what he said. He said the guy wasn't appropriately. MCENANY: Its worth -- well someone told once at you -- you have by the way, by the way, someone throw a punch at you, you have the right to step.
JONES: No one threw a punch at the guy who called cocked a guy.
MCENANY: You have it, right? No, no one did.
JONES: But nobody did that.
MCENANY: And Donald Trump doesn't know about that specific instance. Let me point out Van, you criticized Donald Trump for going to the University of Illinois. The University -- I commend him for going into and bringing his message to a certain place. But instead it was disrupted.
Go look at moveonthat.org's website a liberal group, they put out a statement today that says, that Trump supporters need to be on notice. That's quite threatening. They need to be on notice that we can no longer peacefully congregate to hear this man speak.
We can no longer bring in people to hear what he has to say. We have to be on notice that we might be thwarted from entering a rally, because there are 10,000 violent protesters organized by the left.
LEMON: Kayleigh, are you sure he didn't know about this statement? Hang on, hang on guys.
Kayleigh, are you sure he didn't know about this incident, because I asked him about it and he seem to be saying that this guy responded appropriately. Are you actually sure about that?
JONES: That's the quote.
MCENANY: There are a number of incidents that happen. I don't know that he knew you were talking about that specific one, Donald Trump has been very clear, violence is unacceptable. He did make the copy of it, that someone punches you, you have a right to self defense in the country to punch back.
JONES: But no one punch. No one punch.
LEMON: No one punched the guy in the audience.
JONES: But Kayleigh.
LEMON: The policeman ...
MCENANY: And that incident Don, Don, let me be clear, that incident was wrong. And that guy was wrong and Donald Trump had ...
LEMON: But he didn't say that. MCENANY: ... said repeatedly, violence is wrong.
BECKEL: No he has not said that.
MCENANY: Even no one incident you were talking about.
JONES: That's not true Kayleigh.
MCENANY: Yes, he has. He said.
BECKEL: You show us where he has said that.
MCENANY: He said four times during that interview that violence is wrong. He said four times in that violence is wrong.
LEMON: He said I don't condone violence. He said I don't condone violence.
BECKEL: You're in hanging in an awful lot on this go in peace when you don't, your not willing to talk about the things he said before this which with Bernie Sanders, and so I think ...
MCENANY: If you think Bob Beckel that those, comments -- do you think Bob Beckel that his too off to hand remarks caused what happened tonight? You think those two off the cuff remarks caused the violence we saw this evening?
MCENANY: That is a ludicrous to say but for those statements ...
LEMON: Hold on.
MCENANY: ... it caused the violence of lack this protester.
BECKEL: And spend a lot more than true.
JONES: And Kayleigh this is -- yeah, and look, I -- we're entering a very dangerous territory of the country. And I think we need to take a look here.
I don't want anybody going to a Donald Trump rally and doing anything violent to anybody. I don't -- I've not yet seen a video tape of anybody doing that though. I also want, people, if they do go and they protest peacefully like women who stood their silently with this, you know, Muslim women silent sign, I don't want them to be yelled at and punched on the way out which we've also seen.
I want Donald Trump to be able to speak. I think left of protesters, you have a right to protest but you don't have a right to prevent someone from giving there address, fine, protest at the beginning and then go out and or let yourself be arrested, but you can't prevent people from speaking. That's also wrong.
So we got to be able to talk about this but at the end of the day, none of those protesters are going to be president of the United States.
Donald Trump could and I do think it is important for him to take responsibility and I can't imagine that if they were your kid, any of my conservative friends, wouldn't want a better tone from Donald Trump. And these questions of stretchers and being punched.
LEMON: And we have to be honest too and when we we're having conversations. You can't be intellectually dishonest and you can't spin things especially when you talk about violence in the potentials for people to get hurt.
[21:45:07] Phil, I want to give this one to you, some of the protesters were channeling, Bernie, Bernie, Bernie. Bernie Sanders has just put out this tweet he says, we do things a little different in this campaign, we bring people together, Bernie and #Bernie in Illinois.
Should Bernie Sanders tell his supporters not to disrupt rallies for Donald Trump?
MUSSER: Yes, I mean, I think, I don't think there's a lot of utility for. you know, I think Van makes a valid point, you know, there is this rally tonight shouldn't be characterized or cast as something that Donald Trump created or is Donald Trump's fault, I mean this was clearly an organized effort by a large number of left as Cruz to disrupt this big event.
I think generally if we see more of that as we go into this campaign through the primaries in the fall, it's going to be cataclysmically bad for the process. It's going to be further divide our country and it's going to have no positive good outcome.
So yeah, I think I don't think any political leader should be calling for their followers to kind of purposefully disrupt and, you know, interrupt the other candidates rally.
BECKEL: What why do you assume it is left Wingers, by the way? I mean I'm in the liberal, with -- you had a reporter for CNN in the street saying that he saw people a lot of mixed races, a lot of older people.
I mean the idea, that you're trying to do is make this into occupy Wall Street is what your trying to do, but the fact the matter is, when that Muslim woman was beat up going out, Donald Trump could have said, don't ever let that happen from any of my supporters again. That was terrible.
LEMON: All right, stand by, I want you guys to take a listen to what President Obama just said about Donald Trump tonight, it was an awesome Texas as his was before the big clash, so that postponed that rally. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We're shocked that there someone is banning anti-immigrant sentiment here or anti-Muslim sentiment, we're shocked.
How can you be shocked? This is the guy, remember who was sure that I was born in Kenya. Who just wouldn't let it go?
And all the same Republican establishment, they were not saying up. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot. They wanted to get his endorsement. And then now suddenly, we're shocked.
(END VIDEO VLIP)
LEMON: Phil Musser is a Republican political consultant, I want to ask you what in that way that President Obama put it. Is this the Republican Party? Is the Republican Party should say reaping what it has sown as President Obama says.
MUSSER: No, I mean, I think that's completely out of context, I mean Obama is basically doing a stand-up comedy act, you know, in front of a friendly audience in Houston and we're trying to juxtapose it over what could be a serious and potentially high of threatening event on the streets of Chicago tonight.
There's enormous, you know, anger on the populist left and the populous right in this country and we're seeing that play out in the context of these primaries both with respect to Sanders and with respect to Trump.
And so, you know, that's anger that it needs to be reconciled in the American political process and the American political system and that's what's underway over the next four days, you go back to Bob's, point, I mean, it really look, we're four days away from the 15th of March which is really the most important thing with respect to the future of the Republican Party and the choices we face.
And we're talking about nothing related to that, which is really what I thought what we were going to talk about tonight before this happen.
LEMON: Well, that's a big news. Hey we haven't seen.
MUSSER: I understand.
LEMON: I think it just ever, so ...
MUSSER: I get it, I get it, I get it.
LEMON: All right everyone stay with me, when we come right back, more on our breaking news.
Donald Trump cancels his Chicago rally tonight in amid protest inside and outside the arena. We'll be right back.
[21:52:46] LEMON: This is our breaking news on tonight here on CNN.
Donald Trump cancels his Chicago rally tonight when protests break out inside and outside of the arena.
Meanwhile, a Breitbart Reporter, her name is Michelle Fields. She says that she has filed charges against Trump's Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski alleging that he grabbed here and bruised here while she was attempting to ask a question earlier this week. Campaign Manager against Corey Lewandowski denies the charges.
I'm joined now by Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor at the Daily Caller. He is Michelle Field's boyfriend.
Jamie, thank you for joining us. Here we go. Who would have thought that tonight, we've shake up like it is now.
JAMIE WEINSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, DAILY CALLER: Yes, no.
LEMON: Your girlfriend, Michelle Fields, the reporter who was grabbed, she says, nearly pulled into the ground of Trump rally on Tuesday. She has shown bruises on her arm. So, tell us what Michelle says happened to her.
WEINSTEIN: Well, she says and as Ben Terris, who's "The Washington Post" Reporter who was there, who reported on the incident, he saw it in full view, obviously. She was asking the question when she got pulled from behind.
IS that -- she was asking a question to Donald Trump on affirmative action last Tuesday and while she was doing so, she suddenly felt a big pull from behind, almost fell to the ground, didn't quite fall. She felt a very hard hand clasp that bruised her arm. Afterwards, as you know, Don, the Trump campaign threw out a lot of excuses, first saying, it never happened. Then trying to do character assassination saying that she's just attention seeking.
Then we heard from Katrina Pierson that, oh, it may have happened, but it certainly wasn't Corey Lewandowski. But if you follow the events today, all of these has been proven wrong. You have video showing it was Corey Lewandowski. We have audio. You know, you have to be a total conspiracy theorist now to believe at this did not occur key ...
LEMON: OK Let us ....
WEINSTEIN: ... has been born now.
LEMON: Let us play some of that so our viewers can see it.
So, first of all, Michelle, she didn't see directly, as you said, but "The Washington Post" Reporter, Ben Terris, as you mentioned, did see it, right and says that it was ...
LEMON: ... he says that it was Lewandowski, who is the campaign manager.
I want you to listen to this audio. This is recorded immediately after the incident that we're talking about.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
[21:55:01] MICHELLE FIELDS, BREITBART REPORTER: Mr. Trump, you went after the late Scalia for affirmative action. Do you -- are you still against affirmative action?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Excuse me, thank you.
BEN TERRIS, THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: You OK?
FIELDS: Holy (inaudible).
TERRIS: Yeah, he just threw you down.
FIELDS: I can't believe he just did that. That was so hard. Was that Corey?
TERRIS: Yeah. Like, what threat were you?
FIELDS: That was insane.
FIELDS: You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. That's insane. Oh my gosh, I've never had anyone do that from a campaign.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LEMON: So, again, that was "The Washington Post" Reporter, Ben Terris having the conversation with your girlfriend. And then in regards to the video that you're talking about, we went back and take a look at our own CNN, it's a raw video.
And here it is, right here. It appears to show Lewandowski reaching for Michelle Field's arm. So, take a look. It's inconclusive to the naked eye. OK. But do you believe that this is consistent as to what happened here? You think so?
WEINSTEIN: He's reaching out, he grabs her, he claims he never even saw her. It seems entirely consistent with the story that we have. We have the audio, we have Ben Terris who knows Corey Lewandowski, because he was there specifically, as he says, to do a profile of Corey Lewandowski and was specifically following what Corey Lewandowski was doing.
So, it seems to me that this is entirely consistent. And it's very hard to argue against, you know, this was exactly what was reported.
LEMON: What I mean Jamie is that you don't see directly him pulling her or to what extent if there was a force of him pulling her. That's all I'm saying. Do you disagree with that? WEINSTEIN: I think I see her stop back, kind of clutch her arm, what she said. This certainly contradicts everything the Trump campaign said. They say they entirely made it up, he has no idea who she even was. Did nothing like this ever happened and this is just attention seeking, then we even know what they're talking about.
This seems to be exactly consistent to what was originally reported.
WEINSTEIN: And by the way, I'm not even sure why people would try to throw out Ben Terris's testimony to begin with? He's a pretty well respected "Washington Post" reporter.
To me, the claims of my girlfriend and a respect in "Washington Post" reporter, as pretty good evidence to begin with, I think the video just further backs it up.
LEMON: And there's no denying that that is Corey Lewandowski. I know Corey, everyone knows Corey Lewandowski. That is him in the video.
Thank you, Jamie Weinstein. Please come on and update us when you get more information, OK?
WEINSTEIN: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. Up next, more on our breaking news tonight, Donald Trump cancels a Chicago rally in the midst of protests and tells me why he says his freedom of speech was violated tonight.