Boxing promoter Don King, right, holds up the hand of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump last week in Cleveland. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Supporters of presidential candidates say the darnedest things. Some will invariably embarrass themselves and the person they back with overzealous comments or analogies. But what’s as telling as the rhetorical misstep is the reaction to it. And what’s happening to Howard Dean is outrageous compared to what happened to Don King.

So, all that sniffling by Donald Trump during his disastrous debate performance on Monday led Dean, the former governor of Vermont and a medical doctor, to wonder why via Twitter.

And Dean refused to back down during an interview on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Kate Snow, who asked why he “went there.” “You can’t make a diagnosis over television. I would never do that,” Dean said. “But that is a signature of people who use cocaine. I’m not suggesting that he does.” As an admirer and friend of Dean’s, I wish he hadn’t said it or tweeted it. But the condemnation and calls for apologies coming from the Trump campaign and others are r-i-c-h.

In a statement to NBC News on Tuesday, according to Business Insider,  the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign said, “Governor Dean’s comment was beyond the pale and has no place in our important political discussion.” That’s a bit much. Especially when you consider they were not employed to condemn King’s use of the N-word while introducing Trump at a campaign event in a black church last week.

Boxing promoter Don King accidentally said the n-word during an event on Sept. 21 at the New Spirit Revival church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. (The Washington Post)

America needs Donald Trump. We need Donald Trump, especially black people. Because you have got to understand, my black brothers and sisters, they told me, you’ve got to try to emulate and imitate the white man and then you will be successful. We tried that … I told Michael Jackson, I said, if you are poor, you are a poor Negro. I would use the n-word. But, if you are rich you’re a rich Negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you’re intellectual Negro. If you are a dancing and sliding and gliding n——, I mean Negro, you’re a dancing and sliding and gliding Negro.

So dare not alienate because you cannot assimilate. You know, you’re going to be a Negro till you die.

Immediately after King’s slip, my colleague Janelle Ross wrote, “There will probably be an onslaught” of coverage. I thought so, too. Nope. Didn’t happen. And as bad as that is what’s worse are all the other things that didn’t happen.

[This is what’s ‘deplorable’ about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and this campaign]

King, who is black, was not condemned for using the ugliest word in the English language and a horrendous slur against African Americans at a political event. Trump, who sat there with a smile on his face as King recounted a racially charged conversation he said he had with the late Michael Jackson, didn’t bother to disavow the remark or distanced himself from King. Not then. Not ever. And I can’t find an instance of anyone bothering to demand that he do so.

The Trump campaign was and remains mute on the entire episode. It’s as if the shocking episode never happened. Adding to the OMG of it all is the entirety of the scene. A man who stomped an employee to death in 1966 and has been sued numerous times for fraud drops the N-word at a political event to the delight of the white men sitting behind him. The knee-slapping laughter of retired Gen. Michael Flynn behind Trump in the upper left corner is especially appalling. Yeah, yeah, there are black guys cracking up, too. I guarantee you they are laughing for different reasons.

The uncharacteristic silence over King’s speech is enraging. Where are all those people who demanded apologies from Hillary Clinton for having the temerity to tell the truth about the racists and xenophobes openly supporting Trump and his campaign? Where’s the breathless coverage and reaction that greeted her participation last April in a satirical skit that involved New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio saying, “C.P. time”? The King episode didn’t even merit mention on the Atlantic’s “Gaffe Track: The 2016 presidential election in blunders.”

“King’s comments…will simply put him in the center of today’s moment of daily racist outrage. Then we’ll probably move on,” The Post’s Ross wrote last week. In reality, the entire nation skipped the whole outrage part in favor of immediately moving on — to slam Dean. And that’s a shame. In the outrage game, what King said and Trump did and didn’t do in reaction are what’s beyond the pale and have no place in our important political discussion. That I have to point this out shows how low Trump has been able to define deviancy down in U.S. politics.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj