Trump Insulted LeBron James. Now His Wife May Visit James’ School
(Bloomberg) -- Melania Trump’s spokeswoman said the first lady is “open to visiting” basketball star LeBron James’s new $8 million school in Ohio for low-income and at-risk students, after the president derided James’s intelligence on Twitter.
“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” Stephanie Grisham said in an emailed statement. “Just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”
Word of the possible visit by Melania Trump to the I Promise School that James opened this week in his home town of Akron came hours after Donald Trump tweeted about an interview James did on CNN about the school and other subjects.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do,” Trump said on Twitter shortly before midnight on Friday, twice misspelling the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player’s name. “I like Mike!” he added in an apparent reference to NBA great Michael Jordan.
Grisham didn’t mention the president’s comment in her statement. She noted that the first lady’s platform, centered around the “Be Best” initiative, includes “visiting organizations, hospitals and schools.” Be Best has three main pillars, according to its page on the White House website, with one being social-media use.
The interview of James by CNN correspondent Lemon was broadcast earlier in the week and rerun on Friday when Trump, who’s on vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, caught up with it. In December Trump tweeted “I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the ‘dumbest man on television!”’
James said in the interview that Trump had used sports to create divisions within the U.S. “He’s kind of used sports to divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to,” James said.
Trump is headed to Lewis Center, Ohio, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Akron, for a rally on Saturday evening ahead of a special election for a U.S. House seat on Aug. 7.
Earlier, the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich, criticized Trump’s tweet in a statement.
“What exactly about these kinds of insulting and insensitive statements is making America great again?” Kasich, who challenged Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, in a reference to Trump’s signature catchphrase. “We can do better, we must do better.”
Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls standout, said through a spokesman on Saturday that he supports James for “doing an amazing job for his community,” according to media reports.
Current NBA players, including Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Tolliver of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, spoke out on Twitter.
“I’m just sad that young kids have to see stupid tweets like these and grow up thinking it’s okay,” Mitchell tweeted.
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