Trump: I should've waited to get LaVar Ball's son back from China

Trump: I should've waited to get LaVar Ball's son back from China
© Getty Images

President Trump on Sunday doubled down on his criticism of the father of one of the UCLA basketball players arrested in China, saying he should have waited until "his next trip" there to negotiate for the player's release.

"Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar," Trump tweeted. "Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!"

His tweet came hours after an earlier one in which he bashed LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of the three athletes arrested after being accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in China.

“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!” Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

ADVERTISEMENT

The tweets were in response to an interview LaVar Ball gave to ESPN on Saturday, in which he seemed to cast doubt on Trump's role in getting his son released.

"Who?" LaVar Ball told the news outlet. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

Trump reportedly spoke to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about releasing the basketball players during his visit to the country as part of his 12-day tour of Asia earlier this month.

The players were eventually released and arrived back in the U.S. last week. They held a press conference shortly afterwards, during which they thanked the president for his role in helping them return home.