Donald Trump on UCLA players freed in China: ‘I should have left them in jail!’

Not for the first time in his political career, Donald Trump has changed his mind, this time after helping college players accused of shoplifting

Not for the first time in his political career, Donald Trump has changed his mind.

After announcing he had helped secure the release of the three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China last week, the US president says he now wishes hed left them to enjoy the hospitality of the Chinese penal system.

Trumps comments came after LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of one of the players involved, questioned how much the president had done to secure the trios release after they had been detained in China. Who? LaVar Ball asked ESPN when asked about Trumps help on Friday. What was he over there for? Dont tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

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!

November 19, 2017

Unsurprisingly, Trump took the bait. 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, tweeted Trump. I should have left them in jail!

All three players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill thanked the president when they arrived back in Los Angeles. UCLA said the trio had stolen items, including Louis Vuitton sunglasses, from three high-end stores in China, where the team had travelled to play.

Im from LA, LaVar Ball told ESPN. Ive seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son [LiAngelo] has built up enough character that one bad decision doesnt define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then thats a different thing.

Some would see Trump and Ball as kindred spirits: neither are averse to dubious claims. While Trump was widely ridiculed for his boasts about the size of his inauguration crowds, Ball an average college player at best drew raised eyebrows when he said he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one. Ball is also known for promoting his childrens careers: his eldest son, Lonzo, was drafted No2 overall by the LA Lakers this year. Rather than sign a multimillion-dollar contract with Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, LaVar released Lonzos signature shoe through his Big Baller Brand, with the sneakers retailing at up to $495.

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