President Trump's public feud with LaVar Ball ratcheted up a level on Wednesday when Trump unloaded on the "ungrateful fool" in one of his trademark twitterstorms after Ball went on CNN and yet again denied the president's role in freeing his son from a potential multi-year prison term in China.
LaVar Ball, father of Lakers star Lonzo Ball and LiAngelo Ball, one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the pivotal role Trump played in getting his son released from China last week after being accused of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. Though LiAngelo Ball and his teammates were released within 24 hours after Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the issue, LaVar Ball has refused to thank him, including in a bizarre interview on CNN Monday night in which CNN's Chris Cuomo actually ended up defending Trump (video below).
In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump slammed Ball for failing to understand the significance of the consequences his son was facing in China, and who ultimately got him released. Trump also worked in a few of his famous epithets, describing "ungrateful fool" LaVar as "the poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair."
"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," wrote Trump. "Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think 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. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"
Trump's mini-tweetstorm followed a similar one he posted on Sunday. After Ball first refused to acknowledge the role Trump played in getting his son and his teammates released, Trump tweeted that maybe he should have just "left them in jail."
"Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!" tweeted Trump. "Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!"
Below is CNN's interview with LaVar Ball on Monday in which he doubles down on his view that Trump didn't play much of a role in getting his son released: