Jeers and violence erupted between Donald Trump supporters and protesters at the Republican frontrunner's rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on March 9. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been a horror show since it began on June 16. The Manhattan billionaire builder has so debased the process of running for president of the United States that the offenses that come out of his mouth or his rallies no longer surprise. But they still have the ability to shock.

Rakeem Jones was being led out of Trump’s rally in North Carolina when John McGraw sucker-punched Jones on the stairs. No need for me to use the customary “allegedly sucker-punched” construction since McGraw freely admitted what he’d done in comments to a reporter from the “Inside Edition” television show.

Reporter: Did you like the event?

McGraw: You bet I liked it.

Reporter: Yeah? What’d you like about it?

McGraw: Knocking the hell out of that big mouth….We don’t know who he is. But we know he’s not acting like an American. ….

Reporter: So, he deserved it?

McGraw: Every bit of it.

Reporter: What was that?

McGraw: Yes, 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.

The bold italization of that sentence is mine. While Jones was hustled to the ground and arrested, McGraw went back to his seat. He was later charged on Thursday with assault and disorderly conduct, police officials told The Post.

What McGraw said is shocking and appalling, but hardly surprising. Trump feeds the hair-trigger frenzy that has become the hallmark of his rallies. Like that time at a Feb. 22 rally in Las Vegas when he said, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

We’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in  a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks….

Here’s a guy throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming and everything else when we’re talking. We’re not allowed, you know, the guards are very gentle with him. He’s walking out, like big high-fives, smiling, laughing. I’d like to punch him in the face.

“We’ve had some violent people as protesters,” Trump said in response to a question about this at his press conference where he was endorsed by Ben Carson. “The audience swung back, and it was very, very appropriate.”

The McGraw sucker punch of Jones is the logical escalation of what happened at a Kentucky rally to Shiya Nwanguma, an African American student at the University of Louisville. “They were pushing and shoving at me, cursing at me, yelling at me, called me every name in the book,” Nwanguma was quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. “They were disgusting and dangerous.” And that is an accurate description of Trump’s campaign.

[How Trump is ‘defining deviancy down’ in presidential politics]

“I truly hope not,” Trump said in response to a question about whether he encourages violence at his rallies. “But when they see what’s going on in this country, they have anger that’s unbelievable. They have anger.” Saying he didn’t condone violence at his rallies, he added, “There is some anger. There’s also great love for the country. It’s a beautiful thing in many respects.”

Yes, there is a great love for the country. And it is being shown by every protester willing to put themselves in harm’s way to challenge a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic campaign that has destroyed the Republican Party and is poised to destroy the country.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj