On Wednesday, President Donald Trump appeared to browbeat three UCLA basketball players into thanking him for asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to address accusations they shoplifted from a Louis Vuitton store in China:
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
Chinese police arrested the players — LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley — after they allegedly stole designer sunglasses while on a trip to play their season-opening game against Georgia Tech in China. The players returned to the U.S. on Tuesday, apparently after Trump intervened and asked Xi to resolve their case.
“They do not play games,” Trump said of Chinese authorities on Tuesday. While discussing the players' case, he described Xi as “terrific” and warned that the players would've faced “very long prison sentences.”
Trump lamented the players' alleged crime, calling it “unfortunate” and claiming that it shouldn't have ever happened.