Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said on Sunday that he is looking into paying the legal fees for a man who sucker-punched a protester at his campaign rally on Wednesday.
“I’ve instructed my people to look into it,” Trump told host Chuck Todd during an appearance on NBC's “Meet the Press.”
John McGraw, 78, was charged with assault after he was shown in multiple videos sucker-punching an African-American protester who was being led out of a Trump campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Instead of arresting McGraw, the authorities on site detained Rakeem Jones, the protester. McGraw, meanwhile, told “Inside Edition” after the event that the next time he saw Jones, “we might have to kill him.”
Asked whether he accepted any responsibility for contributing to the violence by repeatedly urging his supporters to use force against protesters, Trump defended McGraw’s actions.
“I don't accept responsibility,” Trump told Todd. “I do not condone violence in any shape. And I will tell you from what I saw, the young man stuck his finger up in the air, and the other man sort of just had it.”
Trump added that Jones was “very loud, very disruptive” before McGraw decided to sucker-punch him.
The Republican front-runner then continued to defend McGraw.
“He obviously loves his country,” Trump said. “And maybe he doesn't like seeing what's happening to the country. I want to see the full tape. But I don't condone violence.”
Asked if he planned to pay McGraw’s legal fees, as he has previously vowed to do in the event that a supporter of his were to inflict violence on a protester, Trump said he was exploring that possibility.
“I've actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” he said.