Donald Trump could have consulted his schedule a little better before insulting LeBron James.
Just hours after the president took to Twitter to insult the intelligence of the Akron native, he will be headed to Ohio for a campaign rally in support of a vulnerable GOP candidate in the Buckeye State. As a number of political pundits have noted, Trump’s timing could not have been worse.
Trump took to Twitter late on Friday night to blast LeBron James, who was appearing on CNN to discuss a school he had opened for underprivileged youth in his native Akron. The school offers free tuition and free books, and also gives free college tuition to every student who graduates high school.
The interview also touched on Trump, with LeBron saying he would not want to sit down with the president and doesn’t like how Trump appears to be using sports to divide Americans.
It did not go over well with Trump.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump wrote. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
As CNN noted, Trump is now headed to Ohio in an attempt to help Republican Troy Balderson, who is trying to hold off Democrat Danny O’Connor in a special congressional election. The district has traditionally leaned Republican, but polls have shown that the two are locked in a dead heat.
Trump won the 12th House district in Ohio by 11 points, but now a special election in the district is a dead heat, with Democrat Danny O'Connor trying to do what Conor Lamb did a a red district in Western Pa. @dickpolman1 @theatlantic https://t.co/4O1JqzApzl
— Vernon Loeb (@LoebVernon) August 4, 2018
The visit could put Donald Trump in a tough spot, pundits say. Though LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, he remains a very popular figure in his home state for bringing Cleveland its first championship in more than a half century.
Donald Trump insults LeBron James, Ohio’s favorite son, hours before he campaigns in the state for a crucial special election three days away and Trump thinks LeBron is the dumb one?!
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) August 4, 2018
Coastal elites may see LeBron James as an iconic sports hero and admirable philanthropist but Trump knows the next House election is in [checks notes] Ohio where things are different.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 4, 2018
As GQ reporter Luke Darby noted, Donald Trump’s ill-timed insult of LeBron James is likely to undercut any good he may have done for the GOP in the tight race.
“Speaking of campaign events, shortly after attacking LeBron James, Trump announced on Twitter that he’d be in Ohio this weekend to stump for a Republican congressional candidate. And nothing says ‘I’m not divisive’ like coming for an insanely popular hometown athlete who’s using his money to do support a community rather putting gold leaf on everything within arm’s reach.”
Many Ohio residents have already started to plan protests against Donald Trump, organizing some of their efforts on Twitter and other social media. LeBron James has yet to weigh in on the insult.