Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump will not accept responsibility for the incidents of violence at his campaign rallies. The business mogul is considering paying for the legal fees of 78-year-old John McGraw, who sucker-punched a black protester at a North Carolina rally.
On March 9, 26-year-old Rakeem Jones was being escorted out of a stadium along with other anti-Trump protesters when McGraw lunged from his seat to punch him in the face.
The North Carolina senior was reportedly outraged when Jones flipped his middle finger to booing Trump supporters.
“You bet I liked it,” McGraw told Inside Edition shortly after the incident, the footage of which would go on to become a viral video. “Knocking the hell out of that big mouth… the next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
McGraw was arrested for assault the next day.
Since the North Carolina incident, there have been several eruptions of violence at the business mogul’s rallies as protesters and supporters clash.
On Mar. 13, Trump appeared on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss the controversies with host Chuck Todd. While he stated that he does not condone violence, the GOP candidate still defended McGraw.
“The man got carried away, he was 78-years-old, he obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn’t like seeing what's happening to the country,” Trump said.
Todd pressed the candidate on whether or not he would pay McGraw’s legal fees. Trump has previously told his supporters that if they assaulted protesters, he would personally fund their defense.
“Well, I’m going to look at it,” Trump said. “I’m going to see [...] what was behind this because it was a strange event. I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.”
Trump has declined to accept responsibility for aggression during his rallies despite his cataloged history of encouraging violence against protesters.
The GOP front-runner has accused Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont of intentionally sending agitators to disrupt his rallies.
“You had professional disrupters -- thousands of them -- from Sanders… we are treated so unfairly, and I’m treated unfairly,” Trump told CNN.
Sanders has rebuked the business mogul for accusing his campaign of dirty tricks.
“I would hope that my supporters would not disrupt meetings,” Sanders said. “To protest is one thing, to disrupt is something else.”
The Vermont senator has charged Trump with deflecting the blame from himself.
“Even his Republican colleagues make this point: His language, his intonation, when he talks about carrying out in stretchers… this is a man who keeps implying violence, and then you end up getting what you seek,” Sanders said.