Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz blamed protests at a cancelled Donald Trump rally in Chicago Friday night on the GOP front-runner's approach to voters.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the University of Illinois' Chicago Pavilion arena Friday while hundreds others infiltrated the rally.
Embedded Bernie Sanders supporters started chanting for the Democratic socialist while scuffles broke out among the crowd moments before Trump was set to take the stage. The widespread incidents prompted the campaign to cancel Trump's appearance at what it claimes was the recommendation of law enforcement. (The Chicago Police Department denies this.)
"There's no doubt that a candidate bears responsibility for the culture that is set from the top and you know, my approach, listen, it comes from how you view the voters," Cruz told radio host Hugh Hewitt late Friday. "Donald demands of the voters that they stand up and pledge their allegiance to him, pledge that they would vote for him. As I mentioned last night, I think that gets it exactly backwards."
The Texas senator compared Trump's relationship with voters to that of a king and his subjects. Cruz bashed the Trump campaign for attempting to solicit Americans' loyalty, saying the public should only remain loyal to the Constitution.
"This is a job interview ... Each of us should be asking to work for 330 million Americans. What I am doing is pledging my allegiance to you and part of that is reflected in how you approach protesters, because if you are the monarch from on high, then the protester is disloyal and needs to be cast out and punished," Cruz said.
The senator, ranked second in the Washington Examiner's latest presidential power rankings, cited how his campaign has worked to engaged civil protesters by discussing issues before they are escorted out of events. Trump has remained at the top of the Republican lot in the Examiner's rankings.