Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump hunted for votes in three states on 14 March, ahead of a crucial round of primaries, and dismissed outbreaks of violence at his campaign events as "a little disruption." The businessman also told supporters what he saw as the failures of the US-led coalition in Iraq and the fight against Islamic State (Isis). He said the country is in worse shape than before Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

"Saddam Hussein was not a good person. Who cares? I'll tell you what, he was great at killing terrorists. He would kill terrorists. Now Iraq is Harvard University for terrorists. You go to Iraq, you want to be a terrorist you go to Iraq. That's Harvard, that's what they do. They kill. We don't do. They develop terrorists all over the place now. It is far worse than it was before we started."

Harvard Law Professor and terrorism expert Jack Goldsmith said he had no words for Trump's analogy. "It is a silly comment," he wrote.

Five states – Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri – hold nominating contests on 15 March for the election to succeed President Barack Obama. Trump could seize control of the Republican race with a sweep and possibly knock out two of his rivals, Ohio Governor John Kasich and US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Opinion polls show him leading in all five states except Ohio, where he is in a tight race with Kasich.