Bobby Knight: Trump’s the bomb

Donald Trump’s campaign sidekick in Indiana, college basketball coaching legend Bobby Knight, praised him Thursday as someone with the “guts to drop the bomb” like President Harry Truman did on Japan to end World War II.

“Wow,” Trump said after Knight introduced him at an Evansville rally. “How do you top that?”

The prospect of Trump in command of the nation’s nuclear arsenal horrifies critics, Democratic and Republican, who call it a bad match for his temperament and his grasp of national security and world affairs.

A debate moderator stumped Trump in December with a question about America’s nuclear triad — the capability to launch weapons by plane, missile and submarine. His idea that Japan and South Korea should acquire atomic weapons runs contrary to decades of efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.

When Trump fielded another nuclear question on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday — would he rule out using such weapons in the fight against ISIS — he didn’t sound quite as gung ho as Knight.

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“I will be the last to use it. I will not be a happy trigger like some people might be,” he said. “But I will never, ever rule it out.”

Trumping it to the streets 

While the GOP candidate's personal protection has never been in question, even as a big supporter yaks about nuking, several hundred anti-Trump protesters demonstrated outside one of his rallies near Anaheim, California.

Cars were smashed, fights broke out, and arrests were made. Police pushed the raucous crowd away from the venue, which dispersed three hours after the appearance in Costa Mesa. The California primary will be on June 7. Some waved Mexican flags -- including a man who Trump backers surrounded while chanting "Build that wall!" 

Back in Manhattan, cops rolled out emergency teams in response to a report from the candidate's office of a suspicious white powder contained in an envelope. Whatever the substance was, it proved harmless.

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No sympathy for the devil

There’s something about Ted Cruz that gets congressional Republicans pounding on the “unlike” button. Former House Speaker John Boehner offered a damning character reference in a forum at Stanford University, Newsday’s Yancey Roy reports.

“Lucifer in the flesh,” Boehner said of the senator who pushed the GOP into a disastrous government shutdown in 2013. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

Not to be outdone in the Cruz-loathing, Rep. Peter King told Newsday that actually, the Texan “gives Lucifer a bad name.”

Cruz, campaigning in Indiana, told reporters that Boehner “allowed his inner Trump” to come out. He was endorsed Friday by Gov. Mike Pence -- but blandly, and not in a way that matched the now-or-never Cruz message.

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The Takeaway: ‘America First’ not a first

Trump’s new “America First” slogan gained its place in American history six years before the Republican presidential candidate was born, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

An “America First Committee” formed in 1940 opposed aid to Britain and other allies under attack from Nazi Germany. Its leaders included the politically controversial aviator Charles Lindbergh. The committee disbanded after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Consultants score Bern-anza

Bernie Sanders’ small-dollar fundraising has given his campaign the most money to burn of any presidential candidate, and that’s resulted in a windfall for consultants, according to a Washington Post analysis.

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More than $91 million of the $166 million spent by the end of March went to a small group of admakers and media buyers, who produced ads and placed them on TV, radio and online. The companies hired by the campaign kept millions in fees.

The commissions may keep piling up even as Sanders is laying off hundreds of staffers.

GOPopularity plunge

Only 33% of the public has a favorable impression of the Republican Party, its lowest level since 1992, and 62 percent view the GOP unfavorably, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The biggest drop was from people who view themselves as Republican.

The Democratic Party fared better, with 45% viewing it favorably and 50% unfavorably.

She only has eye rolls for Chris

Gov. Chris Christie says his wife, Mary Pat, was not rolling her eyes onstage during Trump’s victory party Tuesday when the GOP front-runner said that if Hillary Clinton were a man, she wouldn’t even get 5% of the vote.

Christie said that as the recipient of more eye rolls from his wife than “any human being on earth,” he could confirm it was not an eye roll.

What else is happening:

  • The Clinton campaign is using a Trump attack line as a fundraising tool, offering “The Official Hillary for America Woman Card” ...
  • Sidelined neocon Bill Kristol, who once scouted Sarah Palin, seems to think there's still time for a third-party candidate to emerge. 
  • Trump became a big loser years ago when a veteran securities analyst stood up to  tantrums and slander from the real-estate heir... 
  • Clinton won't range far to accommodate Sanders platform demands, the Hill suggests.
  • Delegate-rich California has Republicans come a-courting, says the WSJ (pay site)...
  • San Francisco Republicansa rare breed, are being courted in particular, Bloomberg News says ...
  • Despite pushing Sanders to tone it down, Clinton didn't stop warning audiences that Barack Obama was untested as her 2008 candidacy faded...
  • Ex-candidate Marco Rubio has held on to the 171 delegates he won, and they could play a crucial role at a contested Republican convention, The Washington Post says ...
  • In its general-election pivot, Clinton’s campaign has stopped airing ads in upcoming Democratic primary states, NBC News says, while Sanders is trimming spending in Indiana to focus on California, according to Politico ...
  • Caitlin Jenner, America’s transgender icon, took Trump up on his offer to use any bathroom she wanted at Trump Tower, and posted a video on Facebook..
  • An interesting first-person account describes Trump's efforts to spin a reporter via "flattery, intimidation and isolation."