Primary Voters Weigh In On Trump Clashes

Mar 14, 2016
Originally published on March 14, 2016 12:13 pm

When a Donald Trump rally was cancelled in Chicago on Friday night after violent clashes broke out between protesters and Trump supporters, it set the tone for the next few days on the campaign trail.

More than a thousand people were lined up outside a Trump Rally in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday. They were buzzing about the events of the night before in Chicago and more that ready to show their support for Donald Trump.

Many in this crowd said they were angered by the protests aimed at disrupting Trump.

For Scott Brown, a 41-year-old landscaper from Canton, the issue was that liberals think free speech only applies to them.

"This is a double standard between liberals and conservatives," Brown said. "You know the liberals can't-- you know, they don't like the truth."

With more interruptions at events over the weekend, sometimes Trump engaged the protesters verbally. His supporters would also, always shouting them down.

But Brown predicted it will only have one lasting impact on Trumps campaign: "It's gonna make us stronger, you know?"

Meanwhile, Trump says he bears no responsibility for the sometimes ominous atmosphere at his events.

At a John Kasich for President event Sunday in Strongsville, Ohio, there was a different take on the disruptions, which recently included a Trump supporter punching a protester in the face as the protester was being escorted out by police.

Brian Blowes, a human resources manager in Strongsville said of Trump, "I think he instigates some of those things."

Blowes, who said he'll vote for Kasich tomorrow, predicted that the Trump rallies will calm down, and so will the candidate as he gets closer to the GOP nomination and looks to broaden his appeal.

Also at the Kasich event was 52-year-old book editor Amy Nolan, who described herself as a newly-registered Republican.

As for the Trump campaign, her assessment was not kind. "It's deplorable and laughable, of course, and there's great entertainment value, but it's also pretty dangerous, I think," Nolan said.

"If Trump has engendered this much unrest just in his candidacy, I fear what tumult will be engendered in a Trump presidency," she added.

But seated nearby by at the Kasich event was an undecided voter who said he's trying to choose between Kasich and Trump.

Rob Jarowski is a 31-year-old bank analyst who also attended the Saturday Trump rally in Cleveland. At that event there were a half dozen interruptions by protestors and one brief scuffle in the crowd. Jarowski used a heated local football rivalry as comparison.

"I'm a Cleveland Browns fan. I've been to Browns-[Pittsburgh] Steelers games. So I would say that rally was more tame than a Browns-Steelers game," Jarowski said.

Asked whether a political rally should be more tame than what can happen even the stands at a Browns-Steelers game, he laughed.

"The tone of the country is changing a little bit. We are frustrated with the status quo. So, I mean, if we get some excitement around our political events, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing," Jarowski said.

But on that point, there's plenty of disagreement.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All through the weekend, Donald Trump's campaign events were hounded by protests. The most dramatic moment was Friday night in Chicago. A Trump rally was canceled there, and violent clashes broke out between protesters and Trump supporters. That moment really set the tone for the next few days on the campaign trail. Republican voters were certainly talking about it no matter which candidate they support. And NPR's Don Gonyea was talking to them.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: The doors hadn't opened yet. More than a thousand people were lined up outside a Trump rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday buzzing about the events of the night before in Chicago and more than ready to show their support for Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Trump.

GONYEA: Many in this crowd said the protest that shut down that Chicago event angered them. Forty-one-year-old Scott Brown, a landscaper from Canton, Ohio, said liberals think free speech only applies to them.

SCOTT BROWN: This is a double standard between the liberals and conservatives.

GONYEA: How so?

BROWN: Well, you know, the liberals can't - you know, they don't like the truth.

GONYEA: There were many more protests and interruptions at Trump events over the weekend. Sometimes Trump engaged the protesters verbally and always his supporters shouted them down. But Brown predicts it'll only have one lasting impact on Trump's campaign.

BROWN: It's going to make us stronger, you know?

GONYEA: Donald Trump says he bears no responsibility for the sometimes ominous atmosphere at his rallies. At a John-Kasich-for-president event Sunday in Strongsville, a different take on the disruptions, which recently included a Trump supporter punching a protester in the face as he was being escorted out by police. Brian Blowes is an HR manager in a Strongsville.

BRIAN BLOWES: Well, I think he instigates some of those things, absolutely.

GONYEA: Blowes, who says he'll vote for Kasich tomorrow, predicts, though, that the Trump rallies will calm down as will the candidate, he says, as Trump gets closer to the nomination and looks to broaden his appeal. Also at the Kasich event was 52-year-old book editor Amy Nolan who describes herself as a newly registered Republican. As for the Trump campaign, she's not kind.

AMY NOLAN: It's deplorable and laughable, of course. And there's great entertainment value, but it's also pretty dangerous, I think.

GONYEA: And her take on the scene at Trump rallies, Nolan says she fears what a President Trump would be like.

NOLAN: If Trump has engendered this much unrest just in his candidacy, I fear what tumults will be engendered in a Trump presidency.

GONYEA: But seated nearby at that Kasich event was an undecided voter who says he's trying to choose between Kasich and Trump. Thirty-one-year-old Rob Jarowski is a bank analyst who also attended the Saturday Trump rally in Cleveland. At that event, there were a half-dozen interruptions by protesters and one brief scuffle in the crowd. Jarowski uses a heated local football rivalry as a comparison.

ROB JAROWSKI: I'm a Cleveland Browns fan. I've been to Browns-Steelers games, so I would say that that rally was more tame than a Browns-Steelers game.

GONYEA: When I asked whether a political rally should be more tame than what can happen even in the stands at a Browns-Steelers game, he laughs.

JAROWSKI: Well, you make a good point there. However, I mean, the tone of the country is changing a little bit. We are frustrated by the status quo, so, I mean, if we get some excitement around our political events, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

GONYEA: On that point, however, there's plenty of disagreement. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Columbus. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.