“…I should’ve left them in jail!”
That’s part of the tweet that came from President Trump at 12:42 p.m. on Saturday. The tweet and it’s sentiment was in response to LaVar Ball’s downplay of the role Trump played in getting LaVar’s son, LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA basketball players released from jail after being found shopping in China.
During an interview with ESPN, LaVar Ball was asked about Trump’s aid in getting his son and the other players released from the Chinese jail; Ball responded in part, “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
The UCLA Bruins players were arrested and questioned on November 7. The team members were released the following day after posting bail and agreeing to surrender their passports.
Athletic director for UCLA, Dan Guerrero, said in a statement that the players did steal from three high-end stores. Items taken included sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the players’ hotel in Hangzhou.
All three players were indefinitely suspended from the team.
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled,” LaVar Ball told ESPN.
“They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes. I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.”
During the president’s trip to Asia last week, he took up the case of the UCLA players with China’s President Xi Jinping. Later, Trump tweeted that the men should thank him for helping with their release.
Upon arrival back to the US, the players thanked Trump during a press conference in Los Angeles.
But President Trump was not impressed with the LaVar Ball’s reaction. Once POTUS got news of the response, he set about issuing a response of his own.