Donald Trump stands by his campaign rhetoric

Trump’s remarks came after a near-riot in Chicago as Trump canceled a rally amid altercations between his supporters and detractors

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Showing few signs of trying to ease the nation’s tense political atmosphere, Republican front-runner Donald Trump is standing by his antagonistic campaign rhetoric, rejecting any responsibility for violence at his rallies and defending his supporters who have been charged with assaulting protesters.

“We’re not provoking. We want peace. ... We don’t want trouble,” he told a large crowd in Bloomington, Illinois, the first of three comparatively docile events from Illinois to Florida as he campaigned ahead of another critical slate of large-state primaries.

Trump’s remarks came after a near-riot Friday night in Chicago as Trump canceled a scheduled rally amid widespread altercations among his supporters, detractors and authorities.

His three-state tour also came less than 48 hours before polls open in a five-state slate that could determine whether he wins the GOP nomination without a contested summer convention.

Against that backdrop, Trump continued to blame protesters, media and even Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for the increasingly caustic campaign environment that his rivals assailed as “cause for pause” and certain “to do damage to America.”

Interrupted only sparingly at his events throughout the day, Trump assured his backers their frustration is righteous rage against a corrupt political and economic system. He cast his naysayers as “bad people” that “do harm to the country.”

Though by the end of the night, he seemed to miss the commotion.

In Boca Raton, where he spoke in an outdoor amphitheater on a balmy Florida night, he asked, 20 minutes into his speech, “Do we have a protester anywhere? Do we have a disrupter?”

Trump has tried since Chicago to shift focus to Ohio, where he faces a late push from the popular governor, John Kasich. The outcome will help determine whether Trump can reach the 1,237 delegates required for nomination and avoid a contested GOP convention this summer in Cleveland.

“If we can win Ohio, we’re going to run the table, folks,” Trump said in West Chester, Ohio, his second event Sunday.

Kasich will campaign in Ohio Monday with 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will campaign separately for Trump Monday in Florida.

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