Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump landed the endorsement of legendary college-basketball coach Bobby Knight. Stumping for the business mogul in Indiana, Knight declared Trump “the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States" (video below).
On April 27, Trump trotted out 75-year-old Knight during a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana. Knight had spent decades coaching the Indiana University Hoosiers, racking up a record-setting number of championships.
Knight was dismissed from coaching the team in 2000 after evidence that he had been physically assaulting his players surfaced. Nevertheless, the coach was welcomed enthusiastically by the Indianapolis crowd, according to the Washington Post.
“They talk in a negative way when they want to about Donald, and say he isn’t presidential,” Knight told the crowd, according to Vanity Fair. “I don’t know what the hell that means. To me I think of Harry Truman, they said Harry Truman wasn’t presidential. And damn, he went on to be one of the three best presidents in U.S. history.”
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Pivoting back to the business mogul he was endorsing, Knight added “[Trump] will at some point be one of those also. You folks are taking a look at the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States.”
The coach predicted that Trump would treat U.S. military veterans well, and proceeded to reflect on his career in Indiana.
“I want to say to you Indiana people that I owe you a big, big debt of gratitude, because nowhere in the world is a sporting group followed more than this state follows basketball,” Knight said. “And I just want to thank you for the opportunity that I had to coach in this state — it will always be something that I will cherish.”
The former college-basketball coach concluded “There has never been a more honest politician than Donald Trump… What you did to give us Donald Trump, they’re going to take all of you people, and they’re going to put you right next to our Founding Fathers and George Washington, that’s what the hell they’re going to do with you people!”
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Following Knight, Trump praised the legendary coach, stating that Knight had actually called and asked him to run for president years before. The business mogul declared Knight to be “the greatest endorsement in the history of Indiana.”
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean was inclined to agree with Trump on the gravity of Knight’s endorsement, said Real Clear Politics.
“It is the same as Bear Bryant endorsing somebody in Alabama,” Dean said. “This guy did more for Indiana basketball, which I have to say is the biggest sport in Indiana by far… endorsements usually don’t make much difference, this one does.”