Hall of Fame boxing promoter Don King called to set the record straight about whether he did or didn’t endorse Donald Trump for president, as Trump tweeted out on Friday. As always, King had plenty to say.
The energetic, 84-year-old former promoter of Muhammad Ali and many other champions, who still is active in the boxing business, King attended Ali’s funeral in Louisville on Friday. The fighter King promoted in “The Rumble in the Jungle” and the “Thrilla in Manila” died last Friday at age 74 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.
“It was great, man, it was everything I thought it would be,” King said of the funeral. “(Ali) was a people person, a fighter for the people. He became the peoples’ champion and his spirit will never die.”
For the record, regarding his longtime friend Trump, King told USA TODAY Sports, “Yes, I endorsed Donald Trump. The guy (from the New York Daily News) said I didn’t because when he asked, ‘Did you endorse Donald Trump today?’ and I said, ‘I endorsed the American people.’ I said, ‘I’m a Republicrat. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I’m for the American people. And the American people endorsed Trump. And the American people endorsed Bernie Sanders for vice president.”
King said he has written several articles on a website he touted called itube247.com, on what Trump has done for America.
“Whether he becomes president or not, he has brought out all the hidden back-room, under-the-table conversations,” King said. “If they would vet our politicians and leaders who are trying to be president like they vet Trump, they wouldn’t have none of these problems.
“What I said is that with Trump calling all these people out, he (is showing he) can’t be bought, he can’t be controlled, the party can’t control him, he works for the will of the people. They are the only ones he has an obligation to. Because through the primaries, he was self-funded. They say he’s dividing and polarizing. No, it’s already polarized, it’s already divided. What he’s doing is exposing, he’s not polarizing. The Daily News got it wrong.”
King was just getting started, saying he endorses the will of the people.
“And you can never underestimate the will of the American people. I definitely endorse (Trump) because I endorse the American people. Trump for president, Bernie Sanders for vice president.”
From there, King veered right into women’s rights without stopping to take a breath.
“I’m an advocate for bringing women’s rights to the forefront, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848 to Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone, Ernestine Rose, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. In four more years, it will be 100 years since women got the right to vote.
“In this country, they gave slaves the right to vote (1870) before they gave white women the right to vote. So the system is what’s wrong. It ain’t about the candidates, it’s about the system.”
King brought up the Trump slogans, “I want to make America great again” and “America First.”
“Those are the things that are resonating in the American people’s hearts and minds. I’m with the people,” King said. “No matter which way it goes . . . I’m with the people, and the people endorsed Trump, and they endorsed Bernie Sanders. So I’m with them. I’m with the will of the American people.”
Trump was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015. Why? Because, according to the NJHOF, “During the 1980s Atlantic City was the capital of the Boxing World and Donald Trump had a lot to do with it, including many of Mike Tyson’s fights.”
King promoted Tyson for years, for better or worse, and thus has had a long relationship with Trump.
“I can say this,” the promoter said in winding down his diatribe. “We have never had a consensus of opinion like we have today of rejection of the government, rejection of the politicians, rejection of the party bosses, rejection of the establishment. Everybody agrees, the party agrees, the party bosses agree that the system is corrupt. Bernie Sanders is hollering every day that the system is bought by the lobbyists, the financial interests, the super PACs and all of these things here.
“Trump is saying the same thing, that it is the system, not the people but the system that controls it. I want to uncontrol it, and put it back in the arms of the American people of every race, color, creed and religion.”
And with that, the promoter who made the phrase “Only in America” famous, was gone.
For now, it seems, “Make America Great Again” and “Only in America” are intertwined.