Trump backlash swift and loud, but does it matter?

  • A supporter and protester of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confront one another after the postponement of the scheduled Trump rally at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago Friday night.

      A supporter and protester of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confront one another after the postponement of the scheduled Trump rally at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago Friday night. Mary Hansen | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/12/2016 4:55 PM

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.

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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.

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