The Week reports:
President Trump responded on Twitter Sunday to comments from LaVar Ball, the father of a UCLA basketball player, which downplayed the president’s role in getting his son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other student athletes, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, released from shoplifting charges in China.
“Who?” the elder Ball said to ESPN Friday when asked about Trump’s actions. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.” Trump reportedly spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players while visiting Beijing on his tour of Asia this month, and he did not appreciate Ball’s remarks.
“I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday. “He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out.”
But shortly after the players were freed, the president took to Twitter to deride the lack of thanks he had received after intervening, commenting: “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”
The president’s Wednesday tweet prompted the three players to issue public thanks to the president, despite it being unlikely they would have faced a 10-year sentence even if they were found guilty.
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
The President of the United States is saying he should have left 3 American citizens in a communist prison because one of their parents didn’t show enough gratitude. All 3 players thanked him immediately upon release: https://t.co/iHHgNnw4hc
— Elva Morris (@elva_morris) November 19, 2017