On March 15, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he may not pay for the legal fees of a supporter, which appeared to contradict his earlier promise (video below).
“Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about paying the legal fees of John McGraw, a 78-year-old supporter who was charged with disorderly conduct after he was filmed allegedly sucker-punching a black protester during a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 9.
“No, because I don’t condone violence and I didn’t say I was going to pay for his fees," Trump replied. "No, I didn’t say that. I haven’t looked at it yet, and nobody’s asked me to pay for fees and somebody asked me the question, and I haven’t even seen it. So I never said I was going to pay for fees, no."
The ABC News host asked Trump that if he did pay McGraw's fees if it would be seen as "rewarding violence."
“Well, maybe so, and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t do it, I don’t condone violence at all,” Trump added. “You know, I looked and I watched and I’m going to make a decision, but I certainly don’t condone violence and maybe you’re right, and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t do it.”
According to CBS New York, when a protester attended Trump's rally in Warren, Michigan, on March 4, Trump said: "Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do I'll defend you in court."
On March 13, Trump was asked about McGraw's legal fees by NBC News' "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd, noted RawStory.com.
Trump told Todd:
Well, I’m not aware -- I will say this, I do want to see what that young man [who was sucker-punched] was doing. Because he was very taunting, he was very loud, very disruptive. And from what I understand he was sticking a certain finger up in the air.
And that is a terrible thing to do in front of somebody who, frankly, wants to see American made great again. And so, we’ll see. I’m going to take a look at it. But I want to see what that man was doing.
Todd questioned Trump about the sucker punch further, and Trump replied, “Nothing condones [a sucker-punch], but I want to see.
"The man got carried away. He is 78 years old. He obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn’t like seeing what’s happening to the country. I want to see the full tape.”
Later in the interview, Todd asked if it was possible that Trump would help with McGraw's legal fees if necessary.
“I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” Trump replied.
(Note: Trump speaks about McGraw at 1:30 mark below)