Politics

Bobby Knight Has Tense Exchange With CNN Host Over Trump Support: ‘You Must Be a Genius Then’

Legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight had a tense exchange with CNN host John Berman over his support for Donald Trump Wednesday, at one point sarcastically calling Berman a "genius" for his aggressive questions.

Knight, who coached the University of Indiana to three national championships, endorsed Trump last month and appeared alongside him at several Indiana campaign events. The beloved but volatile Hoosier figure called Trump the "most prepared" person ever to be president, and Trump rolled to victory in Tuesday night's Indiana primary to effectively wrap up the GOP nomination.

"Coach, Donald Trump also no stranger to controversy. Neither are you, for that matter, but Donald Trump has made a lot of controversial proposals, a lot of controversial statements," Berman said. "Among other things, he says he wants to temporarily ban Muslims from coming into the United States. Does that concern you?"

"Well, no," Knight said. "I mean, I don't even know what controversial means."

"Well, a lot of people think banning Muslims from coming into the United States is controversial," Berman said. "It's un-American to prevent people from coming into the United States based on religion."

"Well, that's OK," Knight said. "That really doesn't mean anything to me right now, because we're talking about a guy that I think can handle things far better than anything that we've had recently. Tell you one thing about Donald Trump. There will never be a Benghazi in a Donald Trump administration."

Knight said he had never seen such incompetence in his lifetime regarding the terrorist attack, but Berman shot back that Trump had no military experience and had "known failure" through misfired business ventures.

Knight, who coached at West Point early in his career and reveres the military, sighed loudly.

"You know, that doesn't make any difference, whether he's been in the military or not. He has a great understanding about the value of our military and how it would be used," Knight said. "Donald Trump would have made sure that those four people that died in Benghazi … nothing would have happened to them with a Donald Trump administration."

Berman replied he was not sure what difference Trump would have made had he been in charge.

"I understand you're making a point there, so I appreciate that," Berman said. "Temperament. Does temperament matter for a president?"

"You must be a genius then," Knight said. "That seems the way you're addressing things."

"Oh no, oh no," Berman replied. "I'm just trying to ask questions, sir, and figure out your support for Donald Trump and what you find in him that makes you so enthusiastic about him … Let me finish. Big question is temperament. Do you think Donald Trump has the temperament to be president?"

Knight said Trump had a "great approach to life" and loved the country. Later, when asked by Berman if he felt Trump could unite the Republican Party, Knight replied he didn't care about either major party.