- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TOLEDO, Ohio — Donald Trump got an assist from two sports legends — boxing promoter Don King and college basketball coach Bob Knight — as he rallied supporters and worked to expand his lead in this must-win state.

Mr. Trump brought out the star power as he broke past Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in several recent polls in the Buckeye State, where Mr. Trump has unusually strong support in Democratic strongholds such as Toledo.

Mr. King and Mr. Knight, both Ohio natives, lauded the New York billionaire for being a straight talker and dedicated champion of Americans, including for women and minority voters whom Mr. Trump has struggled to attract.

“There is a revolution at hand,” Mr. King told the crowd of about 2,500 people that filled a performing arts theater.

He compared Mr. Trump to a America’s Founding Fathers, saying the revolution he was leading would overthrow a corrupt system and build a new one that empowers women and minorities.

“The people are angry. The people are disgusted. The people feel that they’ve been betrayed by the elected officials,” he said. “The enjoyment they have in finding a guy with the intestinal fortitude, the steadfastness, the matter-of-factness is telling the truth like it is is a young man who is the spirit of America: Donald J. Trump.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. King raised eyebrows when he used the N-word in reference to blacks.

Mr. Trump has been criticized for campaigning with Mr. King because he was convicted of second-degree murder in 1966 for stomping to death an employee, Sam Garrett, over a $600 debt. Mr. King, who served four years for the crime, was pardoned in 1983 by then-Ohio Gov. Jim Rhodes.

Mr. Knight, who also stumped for Mr. Trump during the primary race, compared the real estate tycoon to a coach who knows how to pick good players and make tough decisions to solve problems.

“Our next president is going to inherit a hell of a lot of problems and it is going to take a problem-solver to get us back where we want to be and where we should be,” he said. “When I need somebody on my side to help us with problems, [Mr. Trump] is the first man I want to choose.”

Mr. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, also spoke at the rally.

“People all across this country more and more see what all of us see,” he said of Mr. Trump’s rising poll numbers nationwide and in battleground states.

When Mr. Trump took the stage, he said that he was awestruck by the group he assembled.

“Having Bobby Knight and Don King and Mike Pence — that’s a treat, having that group,” he said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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