NEW YORK — Mike Ditka, the legendary coach of the Chicago Bears, held nothing back recently when prompted on his political leanings and the 2016 Presidential Election.
Appearing on the “Bernie and Sid” radio program in New York on Thursday, Ditka lashed out against President Barack Obama, later adding that he would likely support Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in the general election.
Ditka, 76, has backed Republican candidates in the past, including George H.W. Bush and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. He has also said one of his biggest regrets was not running for the Illinois Senate in 2004, a seat which Obama won that eventually led to the Democrat’s 2008 presidential victory.
But Obama wasn’t Ditka’s only target; he also blasted remarks by Hillary Clinton comparing Republican approaches with the “Jim Crow past” as a “filthy statement.” Clinton has implied that policy proposals by the GOP discriminate against minorities in the same way laws before the mid-1960s had inhibited civil rights for African-Americans in the United States.
“To say the things she said, it’s pathetic,” Ditka said. He then admitted both parties were guilty of “name-calling pretty well.”
As for Obama, Ditka said the current commander-in-chief was “the worst president we’ve ever had.”
“Barack Obama is a fine man,” Ditka added. “He’s pleasant, he’d be great to play golf with. He’s not a leader.”
The coach then said he hoped the country would elect someone like Ronald Reagan, an icon among many Republican voters. He said among the field of candidates, no one was perfect, but that Trump may be the best choice available. Ditka acknowledged that many “hate” the prospect of a Trump presidency due to his controversial comments.
“The people that like him, (it’s) because he (Trump) says things that resonate what people think,” Ditka said. “Whether you like it or not, that’s the way people think at times.”
Said Ditka, “If I were to vote tomorrow, I’d probably vote for Trump.”
Trump has received backlash among candidates from both parties due his remarks toward women, immigrants and Muslims during the 2016 campaign.
The brazen, polarizing New York businessman dominated Super Tuesday this week and seems well on his way to the Republican nomination, but has been denounced by other prominent members of the GOP, including 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who on Thursday called Trump a “fraud.”
However on Thursday night during the Republican debate, all the competing candidates said they would support Trump for president should he become the GOP’s nominee.
Ditka led the Bears to the Super Bowl during the 1985 season, one of the most dominant years ever for a professional football team. He is currently an analyst for ESPN.
Ditka is not the only ESPN figure causing a stir for his political remarks; recently Curt Schilling said Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail” for her alleged handling of classified information.
Both Schilling’s and Ditka’s comments came after the network reportedly sent out a memo to on-air talent asking them to steer clear of “editorializing politics” during the 2016 campaign.