"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." - Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Meet The Press host Chuck Todd that he has asked his "people" to look into paying the legal fees of the 78-year-old supporter who punched a peaceful Black protester in the face as the man was being ushered out of a Trump rally by police.
John McGraw, (photo above) a Trump supporter from Linden, North Carolina, proudly admitted punching protester Rakeem Jones in the face as Rakeem walked passively up the aisle surrounded by police escorting him out of the building. McGraw told Inside Edition that Rakeem deserved "every bit of it" and warned that next time, he might have to kill him.
"I knocked the hell out of that big mouth," bragged McGraw, "and he deserved it. Next time we see him, we might have to kill him."
Police, who claim they did not witness the assault even though a line of blue uniforms surrounded the protesters, curiously threw Rakeem to the ground after he was struck, as if he were the perpetrator and not the victim. It was only the next day that McGraw was arrested and charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct, after the video of McGraw punching Rakeem went viral and an internal police investigation was begun.
Trump told Chuck Todd that while he doesn't condone violence, he was open to paying for McGraw's lawyer.
"The man got carried away," said Trump. "He was 78 years old, he obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn't like seeing what's happening to the country."
Chuck Todd asked Trump to confirm that meant he would pay for McGraw's legal fees, which is something Trump often promises his audiences he will do, should they be arrested for accosting protesters.
"Well, I'm going to look at it. I'm going to see, you know, what was behind this because it was a strange event," Trump told Todd. "I've actually instructed my people to look into it, yes."
Here's a video about the incident which has McGraw's death threat at the 1:05 mark. See if he strikes you as someone who got carried away because he "obviously loves his country."
Photo is a screenshot from the YouTube video