Trump backlash swift and loud, but does it matter?

The bipartisan backlash that followed Donald Trump's Friday rally cancellation was swift and harsh, leaving some Republicans backing the real estate mogul's opponents with renewed vigor ahead of Tuesday's primary vote.

But Trump's campaign has been a direct assault on the so-called political establishment forces that were quick to condemn him, leaving it unclear what the long-term results of Trump's University of Illinois Chicago non-rally will be.

"Donald Trump created that hostile environment," said state Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican and backer of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

He predicted a backlash against Trump. But if there isn't one, Sullivan said, "God help us."

Conservative radio host and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh was among those who was quick to retort. He has not formally backed a presidential candidate but has said he can relate to Trump's push against the Republican establishment.

"They didn't just cancel Trump's rally last night," Walsh posted to Twitter. "They shut down speech. They spit on America. They awakened the silent majority."

All of Trump's opponents on the Illinois primary ballot - Kasich, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz criticized Trump swiftly after the cancellation was announced.

But with their supporters split and not uniting behind a single alternative, it's unclear if any one of them will be able to overtake Trump's vote totals here or in Ohio or Florida where more convention delegates are at stake Tuesday.

In Ohio Saturday, a group of four U.S. Secret Service agents briefly formed a protective ring around Trump at a rally when someone rushed the stage. The agents quickly cleared as a person was led away.

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?"

Meanwhile, at the St. Patrick's Day parade In Chicago Saturday, Gov. Bruce Rauner made only brief remarks about the bedlam the night before. He has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential race and hasn't said much about Trump's rise.

"There is no place for violence in our political discourse," Rauner said, referring to two police officers who were injured, one of whom was hit in the head by a bottle and needed stitches. "I hope the police officers are OK and that they recover quickly."

"Protesting and letting people's views be known is fine," he said. "No place for violence."

And while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was critical of Trump at a Chicago event Saturday, he later released a statement because many of the protesters Friday were supporters of his.

"Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump's rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests," he said.

• The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Cruz tells suburban GOP only he can overtake Trump

What next after Trump's rally canceled?

The Latest: Trump appeals for arrests of protesters

Trump rally sparks extraordinary stretch in Republican race

Analysis: Chicago chaos tests Trump promises of unity

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.