President Trump lashed out at LaVar Ball, father of L.A. Lakers player Lonzo Ball, and U.C.L.A. freshman LiAngelo Ball, after he rebuffed the notion that the president played any part in the release of his son, LiAngelo, from Chinese custody, earlier this month.
Trump took aim at the elder Ball, via Twitter, after he dismissed the president’s involvement in freeing LiAngelo and his fellow teammates during an interview with ESPN, on Friday. LiAngelo and two of his teammates were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting, by Chinese authorities, during the team’s visit to the country last week.
According to White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, Trump spoke with President Xi Jinping, concerning the incident. Trump reportedly asked President Xi if he was aware of the actions of the three American “knuckleheads” who were allegedly caught stealing merchandise from stores.
Xi reportedly checked into the incident and then ordered that the three young men be pardoned for their offenses. Apparently, the penalty in China for theft is at least a decade in prison. However, the players were not completely off the hook as they received indefinite suspensions upon returning to the U.S.
After returning from his trip, Trump indicated that it was he who arranged for the release of the players and then went on to question why no one had thanked him for his help. The three players eventually expressed their gratitude to the commander-in-chief for his timely intervention.
However, LaVar Ball said he doubted that Trump really had any say in the release of his son and when he was asked directly what he thought about Trump’s involvement, the elder Ball responded with, “Who?”
This single interrogative was apparently all it took for Trump to voice his disapproval with a lengthy response, lamenting over his decision to bail not just LiAngelo, but all three young men out of trouble.
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
It is unclear why Trump tweeted that he should have left “them” in jail, referring to the other young men, when it was only LiAngelo’s father who poured cold water on the flames of Trump’s accomplishment.
Trump is well-known for using Twitter as a platform to speak directly to the American people and the rest of the world as well. Trump also uses his social media niche as a bully pulpit to criticize his opponents. He has used Twitter as a means to attack congressmen, journalists, other world leaders, and just about anyone he disapproves of.
However, Trump is not without his considerably large base of supporters. At the time of this writing, the president’s tweet had received over 200,000 “likes” and more than 60,000 “retweets.”
[Featured Image by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images]