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Don King just used the n-word to introduce Donald Trump in Ohio

Don King at RNC
Don King went to the Republican National Convention even though he wasn’t allowed to speak.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Donald Trump wanted boxing promoter Don King — whose support he’s invoked repeatedly to make the case that he’s not racist — to speak at the Republican National Convention this summer, but the Republican establishment forced King off the list because he was once convicted of stomping a man to death.

But now Trump is back in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and, undaunted, he asked King to introduce him at a church there, showing Republicans what they missed when they refused to let him speak at the convention.

During the rambling introduction, King repeatedly said “Negro” — and then the n-word. (As you can see in the video, some of the people behind him found this funnier than others.)

“I told Michael Jackson, if you’re poor, you are a poor Negro — I would use the n-word. If you are rich, you are a rich Negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you are an intellectual Negro. If you are a dancing and sliding and gliding” — oops.

When Trump took the stage, he didn’t say anything about King’s remarks.

Obviously it’s very different for King, who is black, to talk this way than it would be for Trump. Still, it’s worth taking a moment to remember how incredibly bizarre this is. Try to imagine King giving this kind of introduction for Mitt Romney, or George W. Bush, or any of the previous Republican nominees.

King, who once managed boxing stars Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, has supported both parties over the years, including Hillary Clinton in 2014. He’s recently made more of a case that black voters should support Republicans, even showing up outside the RNC this summer to back the slogan “All Lives Matter.”

The audience, while it included some African Americans, was predominantly white, according to a pool reporter on the scene — and greeted King’s remarks with applause.