- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 12, 2016

CINCINNATI — Gov. John Kasich criticized businessman Donald Trump for espousing rhetoric on the campaign trail that has created a “toxic” political environment and is poisoning the national discussion, as he looked to distance himself from the New York billionaire ahead of next week’s primary here in Ohio.

Mr. Trump postponed a rally in Chicago Friday amid security concerns and clashes between supporters and protesters, opening him up to criticism from his rivals in the GOP presidential race.

Donald Trump has created a toxic environment, and the toxic environment has allowed his supporters, and those who sometimes seek confrontation, to come together in violence,” Mr. Kasich told reporters. “There is no place for this. There is no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of people who live in our great country.”

Mr. Kasich said he understands the public frustration and anger over the nation’s sluggish economy and stagnant wages.

“Name-calling, lowering the bar on American politics is not acceptable,” Mr. Kasich said.

Mr. Trump is leading the chase toward the magic number of delegates — 1,237 — needed to wrap up the nomination before the Republican National Convention, and he’s looking to pad his lead in the six nomination contests on Tuesday, including winner-take-all contests in Ohio, where 66 delegates are on the line, and Florida, where 99 delegates are on the line.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump calls off Chicago rally due to security concerns

The race here is tight, with the Real Clear Politics average of polls showing Mr. Trump leading Mr. Kasich by 2.5 percentage points — though the latest poll, from Fox News, found Mr. Kasich has a 5-point lead.

Mr. Trump has rallies scheduled today in Dayton as well as in Cleveland.

The battles in Ohio and Florida are shaping up as major fronts in the push to torpedo Mr. Trump’s chances.

Mr. Kasich got a boost Friday when Sen. Marco Rubio and his team made the case that the senator is the strongest candidate to defeat Mr. Trump in Florida and that Mr. Kasich is the strongest candidate to defeat Mr. Trump in Ohio.

The Rubio camp urged its supporters in Ohio to cast their support behind Mr. Kasich — though the Ohio governor did not return the favor.



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