After bringing out the man who coached Indiana to three NCAA men’s basketball championships at a rally in Indianapolis last month, Trump dropped Knight’s name again Wednesday in Sacramento. According to Trump, he had Knight’s endorsement before he even entered the race.
“He called me up probably five months before I was going to run, Bobby Knight,” Trump said at the California rally. “And he said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I don’t know you. But you’re the kind of guy I want to see run for president.’ This was before I decided to do it.”
In Indiana a month ago, Knight called Trump “the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States.”
Part of that preparation would have to include experience playing with the truth. Although Knight may very well have been kerosene to Trump’s political fire, it’s not as if “The Donald” made a surprise entrance in the presidential race.
Trump has publicly discussed running for president as far back as 1988.
In 2000, Trump attempted to run as a Reform candidate but couldn’t get through the party’s California primary. That same year, “The Simpsons” predicted a Trump presidency.
By aligning himself with Knight, Trump has drawn accusations of playing the “bully card.” As an expert verbal bully, particularly merciless in his description of women, immigrants and Jeb Bush, it seems only natural Trump would gravitate to an intimidating presence like Knight, who became infamous for throwing a chair onto a basketball court mid-game, among other incidents, including head-butting and choking players.
To Trump supporters in California, that was just getting tough.
“Is he too tough? Do you think he’s too tough?” Trump asked the crowd at the rally.
The crowd of Californians yelled out a long “nooooooooo.”
“No,” Trump said. “We need toughness.”