Here’s a tweet from Donald Trump on December 7, 2015 on the non-existence of Muslim sports heroes:
Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
He’s counting on you not knowing that they have a relationship that goes back nearly four decades and that they’ve been to several events together, from Trump presenting this United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian Award to Ali at a dinner in 2001, or the fact that Ali attended his wedding to his third (and still current, but for how long?) wife in 2005, or the time he accepted an award from Ali at his Celebrity Fight Night in 2007.
Now that the champ has passed, he’s hoping that you’ve forgotten what he said six months ago:
Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2016
And just in case, Trump said on Saturday that he was aware of Muslim sports stars: “I know who they are. I mean, look, Muhammad Ali is somebody that I’ve liked for a long time — and I know he’s Muslim.”
As for Ali, he made this statement aimed right at Trump in December, titled Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States:
I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.
We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.
Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.
My real worry is that there will come a time during this election campaign when the Trump campaign will be far more toxic, and we’ll all wax nostalgic for less poisonous moments like this one.