Donald Trump’s Monday evening rally in Asheville, North Carolina, took a violent turn when a man in the crowd slapped multiple protesters who were being removed from the event.
Video captured by ABC News shows a rally attendee physically attacking several protesters as they were escorted out of the arena:
According to reporters at the rally, the man who hit the protesters was not removed from the event:
As the fracas played out in the stands, Trump claimed the “disgusting” media would cover up the fact that the protesters gave him the middle finger as they were escorted out.
“It’s OK. The cameras are following [them],” Trump said. “See now, the dishonest media will not report that. They won’t report it. They say we’re bad people. They’re not going to report that.”
He continued, “So here’s the story. It’s a few people out of thousands. The dishonest media, these people, the most dishonest media you’re ever going to find. They won’t report that. They won’t report the gesture. They won’t report anything. But the good news is the cameras follow it.”
The scene was familiar to anyone who has followed Trump’s rallies throughout his bid for the presidency. Violence was particularly prevalent during the Republican primary season: Between Feb. 29 and March 14, at least 52 people were charged in connection with physical altercations at Trump rallies.
Trump, meanwhile, often encouraged violent responses to protesters.
“There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience,” Trump said at a rally in Iowa in February. “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”