The Latest: Police use pepper spray, arrest 2 at Trump rally

AP News
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Posted: Mar 12, 2016 11:14 PM
The Latest: Police use pepper spray, arrest 2 at Trump rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times Eastern Standard Time):

11:10 p.m.

Police say they used pepper spray twice outside a Trump rally in Kansas City, Missouri, and two people were arrested for refusing to follow the law.

In a Twitter post late Saturday, Kansas City police did not say if the use of pepper spray was on demonstrators or Trump supporters. Television images showed one protester rubbing his eyes and saying that he had been sprayed.

While a boisterous group of protesters gathered outside the theater where Trump spoke in downtown Kansas City, the event concluded without significant incident. Police say the majority of people exercised their rights to gather peacefully.

Trump's remarks were interrupted about a dozen times by protesters who managed to get into the theater, and they were escorted out.

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9:34 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is apologizing again for crediting Nancy Reagan for confronting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

Clinton initially apologized Friday after saying in an interview with MSNBC during its coverage of Nancy Reagan's funeral that the former first lady helped start a "national conversation" about AIDS.

Writing on the Medium website, Clinton said Saturday that the Reagans did not do so. She instead credited the work of gay, lesbian and bisexual activists and their straight allies.

"I've heard from countless people who were devastated by the loss of friends and loved ones, and hurt and disappointed by what I said," she wrote.

Clinton added there's still "work to do to eradicate this disease for good and erase the stigma."

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9:10 p.m.

The most recent Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, says he doesn't think GOP front-runner Donald Trump will ever release his tax returns and believes that the billionaire businessman is hiding something significant.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Romney also cites the main reasons he decided to give a blistering anti-Trump speech earlier this month. One was Trump's call for not allowing Muslims into the U.S. But it was the interview on CNN in which Trump wouldn't disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan that Romney says spurred him to action.

Romney tells the Boston Globe that Trump's recent remarks that Islam hates America are highly offensive and bigoted. He also says Trump represents a threat to both the GOP and the country.

Romney admits he has been wrong before about the 2016 presidential campaign. He says he didn't think Trump would join the race and would quickly disappear if he did. He thought Trump's disparaging comments about Sen. John McCain would cost him supporters. And Romney says he thought Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee.

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9 p.m.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says that with the world watching the U.S. presidential election, political leaders in both parties have a responsibility to ensure that the "discourse we engage in promotes the best of America."

His statement comes amid rising tensions and some violent skirmishes at rallies for Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Priebus never mentions Trump by name and focuses his comments on leaders in both parties.

The RNC chair says he hopes voters can exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner "that is respectful of our fellow Americans." And he says violence "is never the answer."

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8:45 p.m.

Donald Trump is asking law enforcement officers to arrest protesters at his rally in Kansas City, Missouri. He argues that fear of an "arrest mark" on people's records may put an end to the near-constant disruptions at his rallies.

He says he's "going to start pressing charges against all these people."This, a day after he called off a planned Chicago event because it attracted so many protesters.

Trump says arrests would mar their records.

That's "going to ruin the rest of their lives," he says. And then, he tells supporters, "we're not going to have any more protesters, folks."

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8:30 p.m.

Republicans in Guam have held a presidential convention but only one delegate has been awarded — to Ted Cruz.

Guam has nine delegates to the Republican National Convention. Former party chairman Mike Benito says in an email that eight delegates are uncommitted. He says they will meet decide Tuesday. whether to back a candidate.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo is the only delegate who has endorsed a candidate. Benito says that Calvo serves as Cruz's local campaign chairman.

Donald Trump leads the overall race for delegates, with 460. Cruz has 370, Marco Rubio has 153 and John Kasich has 54.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

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8:20 p.m.

Donald Trump is blaming Bernie Sanders' supporters for trouble at his rallies.

And that's prompting him to go after the Vermont senator.

In his Kansas City, Missouri, rally, Trump referred to "Bernie our communist friend" and called him a "lousy" senator.

Indeed, some signs for Sanders have shown up at the protests but there's no indication of an organized effort from his Democratic campaign to undermine him and no evidence that Sanders people are dominating the demonstrations. Trump says he's seen some Hillary Clinton signs, too.

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8 p.m.

As protesters made their mark at his latest rally, Donald Trump seemed to relish the interruptions.

In Kansas City, Missouri, he repeatedly ridiculed them — as people with a "little weak voice" and saying "go home to mommy." Even while stirring up his boisterous supporters, he asked security to be "very gentle" when taking the protesters out.

By about 20 minutes into his remarks, more than a dozen demonstrators were escorted out, offering little resistance. Most of them are white.

Trump was eager to engage them. As he put it: "There is nothing so interesting as a Trump rally."

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7:55 p.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is once again facing repeated disruptions from protesters as he campaigns in Kansas City, Missouri.

He was just a few minutes into his speech Saturday night at a theater in the city's downtown entertainment district when the protests began.

The protesters appear to be scattered in all parts of the theater, and even Trump is marveling at how many are in the crowd.

He's bemoaning that they're taking seats away from his supporters, thousands of which he says are outside and can't get in.

But Trump also says he's ready to wait them out. He says, "I've got plenty of time. ... We're in no rush. We're in no rush."

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7 p.m.

Among the Donald Trump supporters at Saturday night's rally in Kansas City, Missouri, is Neal Jones. He's a 56-year-old accountant and die-hard Republican.

Jones says he'd vote for Donald Duck if that were the Republican nominee.

But Jones has no problem with protesters coming to Trump events. As he put it, "Freedom of speech, baby."

One of those protesters is purple-haired, 22-year-old Liz Blumenthal of Kansas City. She carried a placard outside reading "A Vote For Trump Is A Vote For Hate."

She says she wants to spread the word that "you're able to love everything, no matter your race, what political side you're on, your religion." And she says Trump "doesn't stand with that."

And she says this message can be conveyed peacefully, without the violence seen in Chicago on Friday night.

Several hundred protesters occupied one Kansas City sidewalk as Trump supporters lined up on the other, separated by police and barricades as they waited to get in.

A full plastic soda bottle flew from the protesters into the lineup of Trump supporters.

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5:50 p.m.

A Kansas City, Missouri, rally for Donald Trump has drawn a crowd of people hoping to attend the rally and scores who are there to protest the Republican presidential front-runner.

The line of people hoping to attend the rally at the downtown theater snaked around the block Saturday afternoon. Police officers and barricades in the street separated the rally participants from about 200 protesters on the other side.

Many protesters were chanting "Dump Trump" and "Black Lives Matter." Some Trump supporters responded with obscene gestures.

Trump's rallies in recent weeks have been marked by frequent clashes between his supporters and demonstrators.

Protesters who prompted Trump to call off his Chicago rally Friday night after fights broke out with his supporters are hoping the Kansas City event will be shut down before he takes the stage, too.

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4:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has picked up more superdelegates after winning the Northern Mariana Islands caucus.

The chairman of the Democratic Party there, Rosiky Camacho, says all five of the U.S. territory's superdelegates are now supporting Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Up to now, only one of them had endorsed Clinton while the others were uncommitted.

Superdelegates are party officials who can back any candidate they wish.

Camacho told The Associated Press that he and the others made their decision after Clinton won their caucus with 54 percent of the vote.

Earlier Saturday, Clinton had picked up four delegates to Sanders' two based on the caucus results.

When including superdelegates, Clinton maintains a big delegate lead over Sanders, 1,231 to 576. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

The Northern Mariana Islands are in the Pacific Ocean near Guam.

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4:20 p.m.

John Kasich has delivered his harshest criticism yet of Donald Trump. The Ohio governor says in Heath, Ohio, he's "had it" with the "toxic" nature of Trump's campaign.

Violence between Trump protesters and supporters led to the cancellation of a Chicago rally on Friday night. That's given Kasich a fresh opportunity to distinguish the tone of his campaign from Trump's in the final days before Ohio's critical primary on Tuesday.

For months, the Ohio governor has declined to hit Trump, saying mud-slinging has no place in a presidential contest.

Kasich says he was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the violent clashes outside of Trump's event. Despite saying in the latest debate that he would back the GOP nominee, Kasich now says the environment Trump has created "makes it very, extremely difficult" to support him.

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4:10 p.m.

Florida officials say they have received no complaints about problems with early voting despite an assertion by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that there were attempts to "rig the vote."

Meredith Beatrice, a spokeswoman for Florida's secretary of state, says on Saturday state officials have received no formal complaints about election fraud during this year's presidential primary. The primary is Tuesday but early voting has been going on for at least a week in some counties.

Republican front-runner Trump said on Twitter that his campaign was "asking for law enforcement to check for dishonest early voting in Florida." He also stated that he had heard that some Republicans may be trying to "rig the vote" for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The campaign has provided no examples.

Florida has earned a reputation for troubled elections in the past.

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3:42 p.m.

Authorities in Ohio have identified the man arrested and charged with rushing the stage at a Donald Trump campaign rally.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer says Thomas Dimassimo of Fairborn, Ohio, has been charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct.

The Republican candidate for president was inside an airport hangar near Dayton on Saturday when a man leapt over a barricade, jumping into the security buffer surrounding the stage from which Trump was speaking.

The man was stopped by several U.S. Secret Service agents and other officers, but not before making his way to the stage itself.

Several Secret Service agents surrounded Trump on stage briefly while the man was detained and removed from the area.

Trump then continued his speech and was able to finish without further incident.