How Donald Trump Handles Protesters and What He Thinks of Them

Trump attracts thousands of people at his rallies -- and a few protesters.

ByABC News
March 10, 2016, 6:44 PM

— -- It seems that nearly every campaign rally that Donald Trump holds is interrupted by a protester -- or a handful of them -- and sometimes more than once.

The Republican presidential frontrunner’s interactions with protesters are unlike anything typically seen from politicians, with the candidate firing up the crowd, calling them "troublemakers" and yelling his trademark “Get them out of here!”

In a number of cases, Trump has appeared to praise supporters for attacking protesters and even said that he wanted to punch one of them in the face himself during a rally in Las Vegas last month.

Donald Trump's campaign did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

At a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday, Trump was interrupted several times by different protesters -- or “professional troublemakers” as he refers to them. Trump recalled an earlier incident when "some rough guys" “started punching back” as a protester started swinging.

“It was a beautiful thing,” Trump said of the crowd springing into action to quiet a protester.

During the event, a rallier, John Franklin McGraw, allegedly punched a protester who was being escorted out in the head and face. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department said that its deputies did not witness the incident and did not immediately arrest McGraw. He was charged this morning with assault after video of the incident surfaced.

"We obviously discourage this kind of behavior and take significant measures to ensure the safety of any and all attendees," Trump's campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement released tonight.

Yesterday, at the North Carolina rally, Trump also reminisced about the “good ol' days” when protesters were treated “very, very rough” for speaking out. According to Trump, nowadays protesters can “get away with murder.”

At a Las Vegas rally back in Feb. 22, Trump said he’d like to punch a protester in the face.

“Here's a guy throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming at everything else when we're talking...He's walking out with big high-fives, smiling, laughing. I'd like to punch him in the face,” Trump said.

Trump also said: “You know what I hate? There's a guy -- totally disruptive, throwing punches. We're not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do guys like that in a place like this? They would be carried out in a stretcher, folks. True.”

When a protester interrupted his March 4 campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, Trump suggested he’d defend his supporters in court.

“Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don't worry about it,” Trump said at the rally, in Michigan.

And during a Feb. 1 rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump promised he’d pay for the legal fees if someone “knock[ed] the crap out of” anyone who throws a tomato.

Trump typically attracts thousands of people at his rallies.

“We will have these little interruptions. When you have 35,000 people, if you have a few protesters, I guess that has to happen, right” Trump said at a rally Madison Alabama February 29, 2016. (The Madison, Alabama fire department told ABC News they estimate the crowd was closer to 15,000 people.)

“Is a Trump rally the most fun? Seriously. Right? “ Trump said at a rally in Columbus Ohio on March 1, adding, “I love my protesters, we love our protesters right?”

There have been some instances when Trump and his campaign appeared to take the opposite stance.

According to local station WLKY, Trump insisted the crowd at his Louisville, Kentucky rally on Super Tuesday leave a protester unharmed: “Don’t hurt him! Don’t hurt him!” he said.

“See, if I say, ‘Go get him,’ I get in trouble with the press, the most dishonest people in the world,” he said.

And after a video appeared to show a protester being kicked by ralliers in Birmingham, Alabama, last November, Trump's press secretary, Hope Hicks, denounced the violence.

"The campaign does not condone this behavior," Hicks said.

ABC News’ John Santucci contributed to this report.