Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said,”There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” He should tell that to Donald Trump.
Trump appeared before a crowd in Pittsburgh on April 13, where he committed a huge blunder. After telling the crowd that he knows a lot about Pennsylvania, Trump said to them,
How’s Joe Paterno? We going to bring that back? How about that whole deal?
There’s a short, simple answer to Trump’s question: dead. Joe Paterno is dead. Dead like since 2012 dead. Dead like “Whew, what’s that smell? Smells like somebody died in here” dead. Deceased. Lifeless. Expired.
Trump, who appeared to be reading from some sort of cheat sheet as he spoke to the crowd, caused some in the group to audibly yell “no!” when he asked “we going to bring that back?”
Not only is Paterno dead, he was dead to many in Pennsylvania and elsewhere when it came to light that he had been aware of child abuse allegations against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and had protected him for years. The Sandusky affair was such a big national story it is hard to believe that Trump didn’t know about it.
A Trump spokeswoman later clarified that he had been talking about a statue of Paterno that used to stand outside Beaver Stadium, where Penn State football plays their home games. That statue was removed following the Sandusky scandal and the revelations of Paterno’s role in protecting him.
Whatever Trump meant, it is still peculiar that he would bring up Paterno’s name in Pittsburgh. The main campus of Penn State is over 130 miles from Pittsburgh. In addition, Pittsburgh is the home of the University of Pittsburgh, a long-time Penn State rival. As one Twitter user observed:
The weird thing about Trump isn't that he doesn't know Joe Paterno's dead. It's that he thinks pandering for him will help him in Pittsburgh
— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) April 14, 2016
Here’s the blunder that might wind up costing Trump a win in Pennsylvania, via WNEP:
Featured image via Jeff Swenson/Getty Images