Trump: “I should have left’ UCLA players in Chinese jail”

by SAFIA SAMEE ALI

Call it a technical foul for traveling.

President Donald Trump on Sunday fired off a Twitter tirade against the outspoken father of one of the UCLA

basketball players arrested on suspicion of shoplifting while touring in China.

Trump called the young man “ungrateful” for his favor and said he should have left the players in jail.

“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!” Trump said on Twitter Sunday morning.

Donald J. Trump 

@realDonaldTrump

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!

The president published a second angry tweet Sunday evening. “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China,

as it should be (5-10 years in jail),  but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during

my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!”

Donald J. Trump 

@realDonaldTrump

Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar.

Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released.

Very ungrateful! The Twitter storm was in response to former basketball player LaVar Ball’s brushing off any role

Trump had in his son’s release from a Chinese prison. “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing,

” Ball told ESPN on Friday. “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

LaVar Ball, father of basketball player LiAngelo Ball, in Hong Kong last week.

Anthony Wallace / AFP – Getty Images Ball’s son LiAngelo, as well as Jalen Hill and Cody Riley,

were detained in Hangzhou,  about 100 miles southwest of Shanghai, on shoplifting charges a day before

Trump arrived in China for his Asia tour. UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said the players had stolen items

from three stores when students were given 90 minutes of free time to explore the city and relax.

They were released and returned to the United States on last week. Trump took credit for the release, saying he had

discussed the basketball players’ fate during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping,

before tweeting a message to the young men on Thursday. “To the three UCLA basketball players I say:

You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of  China who made…

your release possible and,  HAVE A GREAT LIFE!  Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!

UCLA players who were arrested in China apologize and thank Trump 2:51

All three players thanked Trump at a news conference following their return.

Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, also unleashed a fiery tweet at Ball from his personal

Twitter account on Saturday. “Wannabe @Lakers coach, BIG MOUTH @Lavarbigballer knows if it weren’t for

President @realDonaldTrump, his son would be in China for a long, long, long time! #FACT

 Wannabe @Lakers coach, BIG MOUTH @Lavarbigballer knows if it weren’t for President @realDonaldTrump,
his son would be in China for a long, long, long time! https://twitter.com/thehill/status/931919188347752449 
Ball, who is also the owner of the sports gear company Big Baller Brand, told ESPN that people “try to make a big deal out of
nothing,” adding that “one bad decision doesn’t define” his son. 
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