One of CNN’s frequent pro-Donald Trump guests on Thursday defended a man who allegedly sucker punched a protester at a rally the day before.
“First, that guy is 78 and throwing a punch like that,” said Andy Dean, the former president of Trump Productions.
“At his age we must say that is very, very interesting,” Dean added.
At a Wednesday rally in North Carolina, attendee John McGraw apparently punched 26-year-old Rakeem Jones as the protester was being escorted out of the event. Multiple videos of the incident went viral online.
McGraw was charged on Thursday with assault and battery and disorderly conduct, WRAL reported, citing the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
On CNN, Dean argued that Trump’s frequent hecklers was emblematic of “a lack of respect that liberals have for freedom of speech.”
“Why is it at the Trump rallies, liberals come and then they create chaos interrupting 10 or 15 times when you don’t see conservatives go into Hillary Clinton and freak out at her rallies,” Dean said.
He went on to say that Trump, the Republican presidential frontrunner, can’t control his supporters’ actions. Dean added that it seemed “like good exercise.”
“He’s 78, that’s somewhat impressive,” he said.
The incident is the latest instance of the mogul’s rallies featuring episodes of violence. Most recently, a Time magazine photographer was thrown to the ground by a Secret Service agent in what the publication called a “chokehold.”
Trump has been criticised for not condemning such violence in the past. Last November, for example, Trump suggested a Black Lives Matter protester who was reportedly kicked and punched Alabama rally attendees days before “maybe … should have been roughed up” because “it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
Here’s a look at the incident as captured by a bystander’s video:
Watch Dean’s comments on CNN from earlier Thursday below:
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