“How’s Joe Paterno?” Trump said, “Are we gonna bring that back? Right? … How about that whole deal?”
Paterno died in January 2012, months after being dismissed following a child sex abuse scandal involving his Assistant Coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Twitter reacted with confusion, presuming that Trump had forgotten Paterno had died:
Donald Trump apparently forgot Joe Paterno died https://t.co/DLLiX4L8hz
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 14, 2016
Trump begins quest for Sorcerer’s Stone in order to resurrect Joe Paterno pic.twitter.com/kSXw6wMVH6
— Ian McKenna (@Ian_McK_) April 13, 2016
The Trump campaign clarified the question saying that Trump was not talking about Paterno himself, but the statue at Penn State that was controversially removed following the scandal.
“He was referring to the statue,” Trump’s press secretary Hope Hicks told DailyMail.com following the speech.
Trump spox confirms to me that his Joe Paterno reference was to “bring back” his statue at Penn State
— David Martosko (@dmartosko) April 14, 2016
Trump’s call to reinstate the statue comes with a recent poll showing that a majority—59 percent of Pennsylvania adults—were in favor of putting the famous football coach’s statue back on the college campus.
The Pittsburgh rally had approximately 8,000 people, and Trump touted his connection to the state—Trump is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Pennsylvania goes to the polls on April 26, and so far, recent polls show Trump with a commanding lead.