President Trump on Thanksgiving morning did not help ease the tension in his ongoing public spat with the father of a UCLA basketball player when he responded to a tweet in which a Washington Post opinion writer described how Mr. Trump’s treatment of LaVar Ball is a part of a larger trend in how he treats prominent African-Americans.
“New post: Trump’s rage-tweets about LaVar Ball are a part of a pattern,” Greg Sargent wrote on Twitter Wednesday, along with a link to his opinion piece. “Trump regularly attacks high-profile African Americans to feed his supporters’ belief that the system is rigged for minorities.”
Twenty hours later, from his club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the president responded to Sargent’s tweet with a single line, in all caps: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
It’s unclear if the president’s intention was to respond to the tweet. Thirteen minutes later, the president tweeted the same line in a separate tweet. CBS News has reached out to the White House for comment.
In his opinion piece, Sargent theorized that Mr. Trump, “regularly goes out of his way to attack prominent African Americans not just to ‘stoke the culture wars,’ as this euphemism often has it — but, more precisely, to stoke the sense among many of his supporters that the system is unfairly rigged on behalf of minorities, and that he’s here to put things right.”
The public spat between Mr. Trump and Ball began after Mr. Trump claimed responsibility for the release of three UCLA basketball players — including Ball’s son LiAngelo Ball — arrested in China for shoplifting.
When asked about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the matter, LaVar Ball told ESPN, “Who?” He added, “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
Mr. Trump did not respond to that well, saying “IT WAS ME” who freed the players and calling Ball a “poor man’s version of Don King,” comparing Ball to the prominent boxing promoter who also happens to be black.
It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think.. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2017
Mr. Trump has also called Ball an “ungrateful fool.”
Mr. Trump has previously received criticism for the way he has lashed out at athletes.
The president famously called out NFL star Colin Kaepernick — without explicitly naming him — in a rally for Alabama’s temporary senator, Luther Strange, saying, “Get that son of a b*** off the field,” adding fuel to the NFL national anthem controversy. The president has called on players to stand for the anthem, and on the NFL to make them do so. Kaepernick initially kneeled to protest racial inequality.
The president has also singled out Steph Curry, after the NBA star suggested he might not visit the White House after the Golden State Warriors’ won the championship. Mr. Trump rescinded the invitation to the team, saying visiting the White House is a “great honor.”
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017