The Strange Relationship Between Donald Trump and Don King

The Strange Relationship Between Donald Trump and Don King


If you’re like me, you might have noticed Donald Trump was “flanked by” boxing promoter Don King last week during a Q&A and thought to yourself: “Why is Donald Trump hanging out with Don King?

Well, first of all, this is not a new relationship. King first endorsed Trump back in June, then made some headlines in September when he accidentally used the N-word during a Donald at a campaign rally.
Although King denied his endorsement after Trump tweeted about it, he eventually explained everything to the press:

“Yes, I endorsed Donald Trump… Whether he becomes president or not, he has brought out all the hidden back-room, under-the-table conversations. 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 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 two men have ties that go back to the late-80’s when king was promoting Mike Tyson and Trump’s venues were hosting his fights. Even then, there relationship was heavily scrutinized because, as The New York Times put it, “Boxing commissions have long frowned on promoters and boxers being ”commercially connected'”. By 1990, they ended up in court over the resulting contract disputes. The two men have had an friendship since then – or, at least, a solid “commercial relationship”. In 2005, Trump spoke at Don King‘s roast for The Friar’s Club.
The relationship isn’t too surprising. The Dons seemingly have a lot in common; they have crazy hair, boisterous personalities and extravagant lifestyles. In February of 2016, Al Sharpton actually compared the two men during an interview with Politico:

“The best way I can describe Donald Trump to friends is to say if Don King had been born white he’d be Donald Trump. Both of them are great self-promoters and great at just continuing to talk even if you’re not talking back at ’em.

Don King had me fly with him and Trump to Atlantic [City] in Trump’s helicopter, and it was one of the most memorable things in my life to sit on that big, black Trump helicopter … both of them talking nonstop, not listening to each other. And I’m sitting there. It was probably the longest ride … I ever was on”

Sharpton even claimed to like Trump – albeit as a person and not a politician. But that was a long time ago: before the primaries were won, let alone the election itself. Sharpton’s tone had changed dramatically by November 12, when he found himself challenging the President-elect to “a fight for the future of this country.”
These days, I’m guessing the helicopter rides don’t seem nearly as humorous.
[Photo via Reuters]