Secret Service briefly surrounds Trump as man rushes stage in Ohio

U.S. Secret Service agents surround GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as other security officers—behind stage to left—subdue a man who attempted to rush the stage during a Trump rally in Dayton, Ohio, on March 12, 2016.
U.S. Secret Service agents surround GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as other security officers—behind stage to left—subdue a man who attempted to rush the stage during a Trump rally in Dayton, Ohio, on March 12, 2016. AP/Instagram/Del Menken

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump was briefly surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents on stage at a campaign rally in Ohio on Saturday, after someone tried to rush the stage as he delivered a speech in which he blasted protesters for forcing him to cancel an event the previous evening in Chicago.

Late into his speech at an airport hangar outside of Dayton, Trump appeared to jolt after hearing something in the audience standing behind his right shoulder.

A group of Secret Service agents quickly rushed on stage and briefly formed a protective ring around the billionaire businessman. Almost as quickly, they left the stage and allowed him to continue his speech.

AP video

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the man had attempted "to breach the secure buffer." He was removed "rapidly and professionally," she said in a statement.

The man, later identified by authorities as Thomas Dimassimo of Fairborn, Ohio, was able to physically touch the stage before he was tackled by security officials. He was later charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic.

Matt Miller, a Trump supporter who owns a body shop in Dayton, said he was standing near the podium when the agents took to the stage to protect Trump.

"We just saw a kid that tried to rush the stage. The Secret Service tackled him right away," Miller said.

Trump, who was able to finish the speech without incident after the brief interruption, said from the stage: "Thank you for the warning. I was ready for him, but it's much better if the cops do it, don't we agree?"

The incident outside Dayton came less than 24 hours after Trump called off a rally in Chicago, when protesters he called "professionally staged wise guys" filled the arena where he was scheduled to speak. He said he was worried his backers would have gotten hurt.

"We would've had a problem like you wouldn't have believed," he said.

However, earlier on Saturday Trump continued to make the case that scenes of protesters clashing with supporters and police on Friday have emboldened those who back his campaign. He tweeted: "The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!"

Meanwhile, five candidates for president have weighed in on the violent clashes at the Chicago rally. 

https://youtu.be/iLbG3Ap5bxk

Ohio Gov. John Kasich stated he may not support Trump should the businessman become the GOP nominee, according to The Associated Press.

He said during a stop in Cincinnati that there's "no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of people."

"America is better than this. We don't have to tear each other apart," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said. "When you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse."

 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters Saturday that he still intended to support the nominee, "but it's getting harder every day."

 

On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign stated on Twitter that they "will not allow the Donald Trumps of the world to divide us up," and posted a campaign ad about unifying the country.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton released a statement Friday night calling for people to "address that anger together," and saying that "violence has no place in our politics."

Five people were arrested Friday night, including a CBS News reporter who was charged with resisting arrest. CBS News said reporter Sopan Deb, who has been covering the Trump campaign since last summer, was thrown to the ground and handcuffed.

The arrest was captured on video which, CBS News states, proves the reporter did not resist officers.

Chicago police said two officers were injured on Friday night. They were taken to a hospital and released, according to The Associated Press.

Trump makes first statement since Friday night's violence

In his first public appearance since the events in Chicago, Trump spoke to a large crowd in Vandalia, Ohio.

He blamed "professional protesters" and "thugs" for inciting the crowd. He also noted some of the protesters were supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and he also blamed President Barack Obama for dividing the country.

At one moment during his speech, an item appeared to be thrown on stage, prompting security guards to quickly surround Trump.

The Associated Press has more:

A group of U.S. Secret Service agents briefly formed a protective ring around Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at his rally in Ohio, but then quickly left the stage and allowed him to continue his speech.

It was not immediately clear why the agents rushed onto the stage Saturday morning to surround Trump, who appeared to jolt after hearing something in the audience standing behind his right shoulder.

Four Secret Service agents then rushed onto the stage, as the audience chanted "Trump! Trump! Trump!" The agents quickly cleared.

Trump did not explain what had happened, but said: "Thank you for the warning. I was ready for 'em, but it's much better if the cops do it, don't we agree?"

He continued the charged rhetoric, stating at one point that any protesters should be thrown "the hell out." He also cited the First Amendment, stating that he and his supporters have a right to say what they want and to be heard.

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This article was update with a new version of video from the Dayton, Ohio, rally and the identity of the man who rushed the stage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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