ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Just as Donald Trump on Monday was decrying Hillary Clinton for having called called "half" of his supporters "a basket of deplorables," an altercation broke out in the stands above him.
Protesters are nothing new at Trump rallies, but before a group could be escorted out of U.S. Cellular Center here Monday evening, a man from the crowd went over to violently confront them.
NBC News video of the incident shows the man with his hands on a protester's neck. Moments later, his hands furled into fists, the man lobbed a blow at the protester.
After the one protester was escorted out, the man pulled another toward him and shouted back and forth with a third, female protester while a member of Trump’s advance team held him back.
He also screamed at a female protester wearing a hijab who was not with the group but was also escorted out.
The unidentified man was allowed to remain for the rest of the rally, and Asheville police did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment on why the aggressive man was allowed to remain inside after his actions.
NBC News was unable to track down the protesters after the event.
Trump meanwhile seemed unaware of the fracas, speaking in defense of those who Hillary Clinton offended with her remarks against Trump’s segment of the electorate. “She was attacking millions of moms and dads who love their children and want a better future for all Americans,” Trump said. "What should these parents tell people about Hillary Clinton’s attacks?"
Minutes earlier, several Trump supporters spoke on stage, countering the recent comments from Clinton with lines like “do I look deplorable?” and that “deplorable is not one of” the words they’d use to describe Trump supporters.
Sprinkled throughout the crowd, some supporters wore shirts that that read “I’m deplorable” or held signs that said "deplorable lives matter."
Clinton had used the phrase in reference to any "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic [or] Islamaphobic" Trump supporters.
The Republican nominee continued to lambaste Clinton for the comments, made during a fundraiser last Friday night in New York City, and instead insisted that his was a campaign of hope, optimism and issues.
“Our vision of hope stands in stark contrast to my opponent's campaign of hate,” Trump said. "Hillary Clinton has been running a hate-filled and negative campaign with no policy, no solutions, and no new ideas. By contrast, I've been going around the country offering very detailed plans for reform and change. All of these reform plans are available on our website, and they're extensive.”
That image described by Trump doesn’t necessarily match the reality seen by those following him for the length of his candidacy, which has had few specifics outside of designated policy speeches and many moments of hateful name-calling and controversy ever since Trump’s entrance into the race.