In Cleveland Saturday, March 12, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton criticized GOP front-runner Donald Trump for "ugly, divisive rhetoric" that she said encourages aggression and violence which is not only wrong, but dangerous. (Reuters)

ST. LOUIS — Hillary Clinton sharply denounced businessman Donald Trump for encouraging violence at his rallies after his event in Chicago erupted into scuffles between protesters and his supporters.

“The ugly, divisive rhetoric we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement of violence and aggression is wrong, and it’s dangerous,” Clinton said Saturday morning at a campaign stop here in Missouri. “If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control.”

Amid growing security concerns, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign canceled a Chicago rally on March 11. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

“That’s not leadership. That’s political arson,” she added.

The comments come hours after Clinton released a statement on the incidents in Chicago without naming Trump. She was criticized for failing to lay the blame for the violence squarely on his shoulders, as some of Trump’s Republican rivals have.

In St. Louis, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says "if you see a bully, stand up to him" and calls on Americans to "stand together against division." (Reuters)

Clinton spoke to about 100 volunteers and supporters at O’Fallon Park Recreation Complex in St. Louis at length about the “anger” that she sees on both the right and the left.

Leadership, Clinton said, means opposing bigotry, condemning violence and standing up to “bullies.”

“But I believe with all my heart the only way to fix what’s broken is to stand together against the forces of division and discrimination that are trying to divide America between us and them, and that means, that means, finding common ground where we can and holding our ground whenever we must,” Clinton said.

In recent weeks, Clinton has increasingly called out Trump for his rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants.

Clinton is also using Trump’s slogan Make America Great Again as a vehicle for her message, which aims to take the high road by preaching political unity.

“You don’t get the chance to make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great,” Clinton said.