A Donald Trump supporter who has been charged with punching a protester at a rally for the Republican presidential hopeful has reportedly said that his victim deserved it, adding: "Next time we see him, we might have to kill him".
John McGraw, 78, who is white, was charged with the assault of Rakeem Jones, who is black, as Jones was being escorted out of the Trump rally in North Carolina on Wednesday.
Now video has surfaced of McGraw apparently telling the media that Jones “deserved” the punch and that "we don’t know if he’s Isis".
The punch was filmed from several angles and McGraw was arrested the following day after officers saw footage on social media.
McGraw was charged with assault and disorderly conduct at the rally for the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, held in Fayetteville.
Interviewed by Inside Edition as he left the rally, McGraw referred to the assault on Jones.
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
He said: “Well, number one, we don’t know if he’s ISIS. We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not acting like an American and cussing me … and sticking his face in my head. If he wants it laid out, I laid it out.”
He added: “He deserved it.
"The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization.
"You bet I liked it … Clocking the hell out of that big mouth."
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said that the victim was being escorted out after disrupting the rally, and deputies had their eyes on the stairs when the assault happened.
In an email in response to a question about the assault, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said only that "we are not involved."
The man who was punched, Rakeem Jones, told the Associated Press that he and others went to the event as observers, not protesters.
He said someone swore at one of their group, and by the time they tried to object, the police were escorting him out.
"It was like, wow, I got hit while the police are escorting me out. ... The police watched me get hit," he said.
Confrontations between protesters and Trump supporters have become common at Trump rallies across the country. Trump has incorporated reactions to them into his speeches.
Audiences are usually told ahead of rallies in an announcement not to harm protesters and instead attract authorities' attention by chanting, "Trump! Trump! Trump!"
Additional reporting by Associated PressReuse content