Mike Ditka declines Donald Trump invite in total Ditka fashion
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won’t have Mike Ditka with him in Cleveland for July’s Republican National Convention after all.
In fact, Ditka says he only heard he was supposed to be making a guest appearance after getting texts from friends about it.
"No one’s ever talked to me about it. I have no idea where it’s coming from," he told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday morning.
Later on Wednesday, the former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints coach said Trump did call to invite him, but that he politely declined the offer.
"I spoke with Mr. Trump this afternoon and he invited me. But I don’t think I’m going to go."
"I can help him, but I don’t know if I can give a speech at the convention. I don’t travel much anymore except between Chicago and Florida, and giving a speech at a convention isn’t really my style," Ditka said.
But here’s where it gets good. The ultra-conservative Ditka still voiced his support for Trump, though his opinion of the rest of the Republican Party was less than glowing.
Still, he said, "The Republican Party has its head up its (expletive) — if he’s the candidate, you’ve got to get behind him. It does the party no good. They’re a bunch of (expletive)."
He offered a take-it-or-leave-it defense of Trump that would likely appeal to existing supporters but may not sway undecided voters. "If you want good things to happen you can vote for him, and if you don’t, you don’t," he said. "But don’t bitch about it after the fact."
"America’s pretty resilient," he said, adding, in a dig against President Barack Obama: "We’ve survived the last seven years, haven’t we?"
Mike Tyson and NASCAR exec Brian France were also reported to be attending the event in support of Trump, but a NASCAR spokesman says France has no plans to attend or speak, while Trump denied inviting Tyson at all.
Former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight was the other sports figure listed.
Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2016