- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 12, 2016

A rally in Dayton, Ohio, for GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump took a dramatic turn on Saturday when a man rushed toward the stage, causing Secret Service agents to form a wall around the candidate amid the commotion.

The man “attempted to breach the secure buffer and was removed rapidly and professionally,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump’s campaign said, NBC reported.

Thomas Dimassimo, 32, was charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic, Chief Mike Etter of the Dayton Airport Police Department told NBC.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump defends nixing Chicago rally amid protests, calls it leadership

Mr. Dimassimo jumped over the bike racks behind where Mr. Trump was speaking and tried to climb up on stage, but he was stopped by Secret Service agents, Chief Etter said.

Mr. Dimassimo may have thrown a bottle before he rushed toward the stage, but the details of the incident were not immediately clear.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump justifies use of violence against rally protesters: Supporters should ‘swing back’

One Secret Service agent took a blow to the nose and sustained a minor injury, police said, NBC reported.

Mr. Trump, who had jolted during the commotion, composed himself and went back to joking with his audience.

“I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree?” Mr. Trump said to the cheering crowd, ABC reported.

The incident comes after Mr. Trump postponed a scheduled rally in Chicago due to security concerns. The cancellation prompted clashes between Trump’s supporters and protesters who were already lined up for the event.

Mr. Trump told the crowd in Dayton that the protests that had forced the postponement was a “planned attack” that “came out of nowhere,” ABC reported.

He placed some blame for the clashes on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, saying some of the protesters were his supporters.

“[Mr. Sanders] should really get up and say to his people, ‘stop,’ ” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Sanders defended his supporters while speaking in Chicago on Saturday.

“What our supporters are responding to is a candidate who has in fact in many ways encouraged violence,” he said.

Mr. Trump has been criticized for seemingly encouraging his supporters to behave violently toward protesters at his campaign events. 

Asked about the violence during Thursday night’s GOP debate, Mr. Trump said he does not condone the fighting but he said he understands why his supporters would behave that way, saying they are angry with the way the country is being run.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide