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.
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 Press
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