Hundreds of police officers, Secret Service agents and private security guards in cars, on foot and on horseback blanketed the area around Donald Trump’s campaign rally Saturday afternoon. Dozens of protesters would soon be ejected from the event.
And that was the calmest rally in the past several days thrown by the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Welcome to Trump’s new normal.
After months spent goading protesters and appearing to encourage violence, Trump has seen his raucous rallies devolve over the past two weeks into events at which chaos is expected. The real estate mogul is routinely unable to deliver a speech without interruption, and a heavy security presence is commonplace amid increasingly violent clashes between protesters and supporters.
On Friday, groupings of well-organized students succeeded in keeping Trump from even taking the stage at a rally in Chicago. The next morning, a protester rushed the stage at a Trump rally outside of Dayton, forcing Secret Service agents to leap on stage and form a protective circle around him.
“Frankly, I’m a little shocked that we got to this point, I’m shocked at it,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is vying with Trump to win his home state’s winner-take-all primary on Tuesday.