Trump Blasts LaVar Ball: ‘I Should Have Left Them in Jail!’
A day after LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of the basketball players LiAngelo and Lonzo Ball, played down President Trump’s involvement in getting LiAngelo safely out of China without any criminal charges, the president fired back on Twitter.
Mr. Trump’s tweet was a reponse to an interview with ESPN in which LaVar Ball cast doubt on how much Trump had been involved in freeing LiAngelo, a freshman at U.C.L.A, and two of his teammates after they were arrested during a team trip to China earlier this month.
“Who?” Lavar Ball said when asked about Trump’s involvement. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
LiAngelo Ball and his teammates, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, werearrested on suspicion of shoplifting while in China with their teammates. Mr. Trump, who was in the middle of a tour of Asia, raised the case with President Xi Jinping of China, and the three players were allowed to return to the United States.
The president’s chief of staff, John Kelly, described to The Times how the episode had played out.
“Our president said to Xi, ‘Do you know anything about these knuckleheads that got caught allegedly stealing?’” Mr. Kelly said. Unaware of the episode, the Chinese president dispatched an aide to get more information. “The president was saying, ‘It’s not too serious. We’d love to see this taken care of in an expeditious way,’” Mr. Kelly added.