Last week, President Donald Trump interceded on behalf of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball and two other players who got arrested in China for the crime of theft — which carries a serious ten-year sentence over there. Only hours after Trump spoke to China’s president, the three were released. But now LiAngelo’s father, LaVar Ball, is dismissing Trump’s help in having his son released.
It all started when Freshmen players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were arrested in Shanghai, China after Chinese authorities revealed that the players were seen on surveillance video stealing from a Louis Vuitton store. Authorities also noted that there was video of the trio stealing from two other stores in the same mall.
This is a very serious charge in China. Not only does the crime draw a 10-year prison term, but for Chinese citizens it means a month wasting away in jail before the indictments are even filed by the authorities there.
These three young players could have spent months and months in jail in China before even having an inkling of their ultimate fate. And things seemed to be getting worse when the rest of the team left China to fly back home to California but the three accused players were left stranded in China under house arrest. The whole situation seemed very ominous for these three errant American citizens.
Then came Trump.
The mess the players faced just happened to occur when President Trump was in China on a state visit. As it happened, Trump spoke to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and asked him to look into the players’ predicament. Seemingly hours later the players were released and all charges dropped.
Soon they were on a flight back home with the most dire consequences only a scary memory.
Many, such as ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser, said that Trump deserved some major kudos for helping get the the players released and returned home. Indeed, the three players seemed to have agreed that Trump deserved some credit, too, because not long after they got home, they held in a press conference to thank the president for his efforts on their behalf.
Sadly, even though LiAngelo Ball thanked the president for his help, the player’s loudmouthed father, LaVar Ball, came out saying his family had nothing at all to thank Trump for. Speaking to ESPN, Ball said “Who?” when host Arash Markazi brought up Trump’s talk with the Chinese president.
“What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball continued.
Then Ball lied and claimed that his son’s crime was no big deal.
“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” Ball exclaimed. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘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.”
“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long,” he said. “That’s not me. I handle what’s going on, and then we go from there.”
Sadly for the players, the incident wasn’t quite over. The three were suspended indefinitely as soon as they got home.
Just deserts, it appears.
The situation was stirred further by President Trump who once again jumped to his over heated Twitter account to wonder why the players weren’t thanking him for his efforts to free them.
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
Not long after that Tweet, the players did say thank you. That prompted Trump to say…
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…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2017
That made liberals mad enough, but on Sunday, Trump was at it again after news broke of the ungrateful elder Ball’s comments.
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
With that the left went apoplectic. Other leftists and their Never-Trumper pals jumped on Trump being “un-presidential.”
A real United States president would never stoop to personally attacking an unknown private citizen with petty insults. This is how crackpot third-world dictators behave. #Unfit https://t.co/Z760RTpoQv
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) November 19, 2017
US president says he should have left US citizens imprisoned by non-democratic regime because the family didn’t acknowledge him personally https://t.co/7X11jTvvvR
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 19, 2017
November 19, 1863: President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address, widely considered to be one of the most important speeches in American history
November 19, 2017: President Trump fights with LaVar Ball, expresses regret about not leaving American citizens in China
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) November 19, 2017
Trump: If Americans won't express fulsome gratitude to me personally, I don't see why I should bother doing what a president should do. Trump's failure to distinguish between himself and the office he holds is almost the definition of not understanding a constitutional republic. https://t.co/oabN54cUOw
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 19, 2017
Extremist liberal blogger turned CNN “journalist” Brian Stelter even claimed that Trump was a raaaacist with his tweet.
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 20, 2017
…And so it goes.