Trump Fires Back at LaVar Ball: ‘I Should Have Left Them in Jail!’

President Donald Trump responded on Sunday to LaVar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA basketball players released from China after being accused of shoplifting, who recently questioned the president’s role in securing the players’ safe return to the United States.

The president tweeted that Ball is “unaccepting” of what he did for his son, LiAngelo Ball, adding that because of that, he should have left the college students in jail.

Many reporters and media folk on Twitter appeared dismayed by the president’s statement:

Others were concerned Trump was attempting to distract the press from covering the Republicans’ shaky tax reform efforts:

When asked by ESPN about the president’s role in getting his son released from China, Ball responded, “Who?”:

What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out. …

As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. 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.

Following their release, the president initially demanded the UCLA basketball players thank him publicly for helping to return them home.

“I would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided as well,” Ball’s son said in response. “I’m grateful to be back home, and I’ll never make a mistake like this again. I’m extremely sorry for those who I let down.”

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