President Donald Trump has tweeted an attack against NBA player LeBron James, and it’s not going over well. Celebrities and political commentators are coming to the defense of the Los Angeles Laker, who is working to open a school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
Trump’s tweet is a reaction to a conversation CNN journalist Don Lemon had with James this week. As CNN explained, the interview originally aired Monday, but the network aired it again on Friday, which appears to be when the president saw it. In his tweet, Trump called Lemon “the dumbest man on television.” And to make things even worse, he ended the tweet with an apparent reference to Michael Jordan, writing “I like Mike.”
The president’s tweet didn’t sit well with fans of James and Lemon — and with people who don’t understand where the president’s words are coming from. James’s work with the I Promise School is undoubtedly a good thing. Many people, including celebrities, politicians, and political commentators, found Trump’s tweet frustrating, to say the least.
Our president continues to embarrass us. Today he attacked a black tv anchor and the greatest basketball player of all time, LeBron James,a wealthy black man who just opened a school for underserved children. Our president has always been a bad person. He’s a very bad person.
— Pete Dominick (@PeteDominick) August 4, 2018
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) August 4, 2018
Even the first lady, Melania Trump, weighed in, seemingly distancing herself from her husband’s tweet and offering to visit the school James is opening in Ohio.
“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement. “As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron.”
Plenty of stars, like Mia Farrow and Adam Rippon, as well as journalists suggested that Trump’s criticism of Lemon and James may have been racially motivated too.
Our country would be far better off if you had a fraction of Mr. Lebron’s intellect and integrity. Your racist, ignorant comments hurt America and all of us.
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 4, 2018
LeBron James is helping young people get an education. You are an old delusional racist who puts our country at risk.
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) August 4, 2018
Lebron James reflects the values of someone who truly makes America great, and that angers Trump. He loathes successful black people who voice their opinion and are willing to use their platform to inspire social change. Lebron is an American hero and Trump hates that.
— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) August 4, 2018
On Trump and that horrific, tasteless, elementary ass corny AF tweet about Don Lemon and Lebron James:
Trump has 3 modes of attack. Racism, sexism and then straight up lying. What he said about these two men is steeped in racist rhetoric about the intelligence of black people.
— Christina Coleman (@ChrissyCole) August 4, 2018
This is apparently what the President of the United States feels the need to share with the world at what should be long past his bedtime? It's a disgrace. It's racist. And it's the product of petty but dangerous hatreds. I repeat this is the PRESIDENT??!? https://t.co/MA8nZUxFc7
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 4, 2018
There’s a lot of insults the president could have hurled at LeBron and Don Lemon, but it says something that the president openly questioned their intelligence. Gee, wonder why.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 4, 2018
Other athletes and journalists tweeted messages of support for James. Even Ohio Gov. John Kasich weighed in — and he stated that James is “better than Michael Jordan” too.
We got your back @KingJames 🙏🏾 Someone sure sound like they wish they was you.
— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz) August 4, 2018
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) August 4, 2018
Rather than criticizing @KingJames, we should be celebrating him for his charity work and efforts to help kids.
By the way, all-around he’s better than Michael Jordan. That’s a fact.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 4, 2018
You know my admiration for @KingJames. I like him more today than ever.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) August 4, 2018
As Yahoo! Sports reported, Trump has praised James in the past, which makes his recent tweet even more confusing. In a 2013 tweet, Trump called James “a great player and a great guy.” But that was before James said Trump was “trying to divide us” during the CNN interview.
“Sports has never been something that divided people,” James told Lemon. “It’s always been something that brings someone together.”
James has also been critical of Trump before the interview with Lemon, calling the president a “bum” for taking back the White House’s invitation for the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, to visit.
CNN also issued a response to the president’s tweet, via its official communications Twitter. The CNN tweet suggested that it was first lady Melania Trump’s idea to watch the interview on Friday night. The network’s tweet also included the hashtag #BeBest, which some people saw as a clapback against the president’s original message.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) August 4, 2018
Lemon responded on Twitter too, writing, “Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages?”
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) August 4, 2018
But it looks like the president’s tweet isn’t getting to James. On Saturday afternoon, he shared a tweet from the I Promise School, but didn’t mention Trump’s words.
Let’s get it kids!! Love you guys https://t.co/kY88geedus
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 4, 2018
It looks like James and Lemon really are choosing to “be best,” rather than getting into a further argument with the president. No matter what Trump says about him, James will keep up his work with the new school, which might just make him the best after all.
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