President Donald Trump recounted during a rally in Evansville, Indiana, on Thursday night the unusual way in which he was able to secure legendary Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight’s endorsement during the Hoosier State’s Republican presidential primary in 2016, appearing to give credit to God.
He told the crowd of thousands on hand that Knight had called him out of the blue a year before the New York businessman announced his candidacy urging him to run. The two did not know each other at the time.
In Trump’s telling, Knight said, “Trump, this is Bobby Knight and you got to run for president. Our country needs you.”
The then-reality television star informed Knight that he had not decided whether he would run, but asked for his contact information in case he did.
Trump said he wrote down the Hall of Fame coach’s cell number and put it in a ‘massive” stack of papers on his desk. He described the pile as the place he put “things you may need someday but probably not.”
Fast forward to April 2016, Indiana was seen as the last firewall, if Trump was going to be denied the Republican nomination.
Trump said he was speaking with a friend from Indiana in his New York office about the race and asked how he was doing in the state.
The man suggested if the candidate could get Knight’s endorsement that would end the contest. Trump then remembered his conversation with the coach almost two years prior.
He turned to the stack of papers on his desk, which he said was like “2,000 pages of stuff” and lifted it up in the middle. Immediately he saw the card with Knight’s phone number on it.
“It was the weirdest thing,” Trump told his Evansville crowd and then looked up and pointed to the sky with a big smile on his face, which caused the Indianans to break out in cheers and applause.
“I said, ‘Here’s his number!’ The guy actually looked at me and goes, ‘That’s amazing.’ And I dialed — in front of him — I dialed the number. And Bobby Knight didn’t even ask who was on the phone.”
The president recalled, “He goes, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to call.'”
Knight appeared with Trump at a rally in Indiana at the end of April 2016, announcing his endorsement.
Days later, Trump won the Hoosier State primary with 53 percent of the vote, while his closest competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz, garnered 36 percent.
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