Something’s rotten in Chicago. And it’s not the deep-dish pizza.

Donald Trump canceled his scheduled rally in Chicago on Friday night over security concerns. That’s his campaign’s story, anyway, and they’re sticking to it. Minutes before the Republican front-runner was scheduled to take the stage at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion — where thousands of Trump supporters and protesters had congregated — a spokesman stepped to the podium instead.

Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago and, after meeting with law enforcement, has determined that for the safety of all the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed until another date. Thank you very much for your attendance, and please go in peace.

This statement has a few problems. According to ABC 7 News in Chicago, Trump and his team did not talk to local police.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department tells ABC7 Eyewitness News the Chicago Police Department did not talk to the Trump campaign or tell them to cancel the event, and that the first police heard was at 6:30 p.m. when they were notified by UIC and Secret Service that the event was canceled.

Chicago Police Interim Superintendent John Escalante said in a press conference that police assured the campaign they had more than adequate resources and could guarantee him safe access and exit from the event, as well as the safety of all the attendees, supporters and protesters. He also said that political views became confrontational on both sides, and scuffles ensued. He said a total of five arrests were made and two police officers suffered minor injuries, including one who was hit in the head with a bottle and required stitches. The Chicago Fire Department said two civilians also suffered minor injuries and were transported to Stroger and Loretto hospitals.

The other problem with the Trump statement is the mention of peace. Please. Go. In. Peace.

Moments after the rally was called off, Trump was on the phone with commentator Chris Matthews on MSNBC, getting more free advertising and stressing that he made his decision to cancel the rally after meeting with law enforcement authorities.

“I felt it was just safer,” Trump said. “I don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

With images on the screen of people fighting, Matthews asked about the flashpoints, and Trump said, “Honestly, we have a very divided country. … There’s a lot of anger. It’s very sad to see, actually.”

The truth is, Trump has stoked this anger. His comments throughout his presidential run have incited violence by his supporters against protesters. Hours before Trump arrived in Chicago, he continued to throw metaphorical Molotov cocktails at a rally in St. Louis.

Trump taunted the protesters from the stage at the city’s Peabody Opera House, even as he promised that police and security would be “gentle” as they removed them.

“They’re allowed to get up and interrupt us horribly and we have to be very, very gentle,” Trump said in response to one of the interruptions. “They can swing and hit people, but if we hit them back, it’s a terrible, terrible thing, right?”

He panned the protesters as weak “troublemakers,” ordered them to “go home to mommy” or “go home and get a job” because “they contribute nothing.”

Thirty-one people were arrested for disturbing the peace in St. Louis.

Instead of being a leader who de-escalates dangerous situations, Trump is encouraging them. The approach is straight out of the dictator’s handbook, explains MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

“Violence at these events, which may start organically, is in effect spot lit and encouraged to the point where it becomes something that is legitimately out of control of anyone. And then the spectacle of political violence is itself seen as something that is a problem that needs to be solved by this strongman character who incited the initial event in the first place.”

Trump continues to play America like a bunch of suckers, and he’s getting more sinister about it. Rewind to Thursday’s GOP debate. Trump stayed cool all night before signing off with an elbow to the RNC’s ribs: “Be smart and unify.”

A day later, he’s canceling a rally and calling for peace.

To quote Mark Twain, “Anybody can tell lies: There is no merit in a mere lie, it must possess art, it must exhibit a splendid and plausible and convincing probability. That is to say, it must be powerfully calculated to deceive.”

Donald Trump doesn’t want peace. He doesn’t want unity. He wants chaos.

He can spin the cancellation of his Chicago rally any way he wants. He can deny he’s responsible. He can claim it was an accident. But the scene unfolding across the United States is by his design.

Forget about making America great again. Trump wants to make America hate again.

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