OPED: Donald Trump plays the bully card

Tribune News Service

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight have been touring the fine state of Indiana this week, a veritable Dream Team for men with fragile egos and anger management issues.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures as if driving a car as he speaks about illegal immigrants driving across the boarder during a rally at Sumter Country Civic Center in Sumter, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The bromance between the insult-hurler and the chair-tosser has grown so strong that Trump, while discussing opponent Ted Cruz's odd decision to announce Carly Fiorina as his running mate, said of Knight: "Look, if I had my choice between Carly and the coach, I'd take the coach every single time. That I can tell you."

There it is, folks. A classic case of Donald Trump playing the bully card.

For those of you unfamiliar with Knight, his success as a college basketball coach is eclipsed only by his boorish behavior as a human being. He was known for profane outbursts, chair abuse, occasional player choking and one incident of throwing a potted plant at an Indiana University secretary, all of which led to his firing in 2000.

His supporters, who are legion and blindly loyal, say he's a man's man who knows how to win. Everyone else sees him for what he is: a bully.

So it's no surprise that Trump, who turns any pulpit into a bully pulpit, has drawn Knight into his orbit.

It's the bully card, plain and simple. If Trump — with a campaign predicated on name-calling and exclusion — wasn't a bully, I don't think he'd get 5 percent of the vote.

Some will say, "Hey, that's bullyist." It's not bullyist, it's true. It's just a very, very true statement. If he was a non-bully, he'd get 5 percent.

So, naturally, every chance Trump gets he's going to play the bully card, and that's why he's now campaigning with Knight. It's a way of saying, "Hey, look at me, I'm a bully and I'm up here with another big bully, so you should vote for men and I'll stand up for bully's rights."

He's pandering to all the voters out there who want to see a bully break the horse's ass ceiling and become president.

Here's what an editorial in the Indianapolis Star said about Trump in advance of next week's Indiana primary vote: "He has sounded off with appalling comments about women and others. He's appealed to voters' worst instincts by trying to pit racial and ethnic groups against one another. He's responded when challenged with reasonable questions from political opponents and from journalists with insults and diatribes that fall far outside the bounds of decent political discourse."

The lamestream media is just helping him lock in the bully vote with an endorsement like that. Every chair-thrower in the state will support Trump, not because he's a good candidate but because he's a politically incorrect oaf. (Bullies are known to vote with their anger.)

Speaking with Trump at a campaign rally, Knight said Hoosiers who vote for Trump "will be having our government take its first step toward what all of us want America to be like."

With the Knight and Trump sharing a stage like the bully Wonder Twins, I assume that means an America that's a red-faced, hollering, nuke-dropping, Muslim-deporting, women-insulting, good-ol'-days-that-never-were paradise.

You take the bully out of Trump and you're left with a bunch of nonsensical policy ideas and some bad hair.

Oh, and did I mention the shouting? So shrill.

But I suppose if I point that out I'll be labeled bullyist. There's just no fighting back against the bully card.

— Rex Huppke is a Chicago Tribune columnist.