PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A feud between President Donald Trump and the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China reached a fever pitch Wednesday, with the president labeling LaVar Ball an “ungrateful fool.”
Continuing a volley of insults over social media that has gone on for over a week, Mr. Trump took after LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball, in a series of tweet sent early Wednesday.
Mr. Trump chastised LaVar Ball for failing to credit him with interceding with Chinese officials to get his son LiAngelo and two other UCLA basketball players released after they were detained in connection with a shoplifting incident while in in China to play a basketball game.
Tweeting from his Mar a Lago estate in Florida before daybreak, Mr. Trump said, “The ungratefulness is something I’ve never seen before.”
“If you get someone’s son out of prison, he should be grateful to you,” the president said. “Period. I don’t care.”
“If Hillary got my kid out of prison, as much as I hate the woman, I’d thank her corrupt ass,” he said of last year’s Democratic campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“But remember LaVar,” Mr. Trump wrote, “shoplifting is NOT a little thing,”
In his Twitter posts, Mr. Trump also said, “Lavar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you.”
Mr. Trump told LaVar Ball that shoplifting is “a really big deal, especially in China.”
He said, “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence. IT WAS ME.”
“Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think .”
LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were released after a brief detention in China while Mr. Trump was visiting the country. The three UCLA players have been suspended from the team.