Former President Trump slammed NBA superstar LeBron James on Thursday night, calling the basketball star’s “racist rants” “divisive, nasty, insulting and demeaning.”
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television RATINGS, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the League,” Trump wrote in a statement released by his office.
“His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!” he continued.
Trump’s comments come after a Tweet James sent, then deleted, on Wednesday, which called for accountability in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer.
“YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” the Los Angeles Laker wrote in a post with a photo of Officer Nicholas Reardon, who was identified as the policeman who shot and killed Bryant.
LeBron deleted it pic.twitter.com/iJil2ohGkn
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 21, 2021
James’s tweet received a flurry of backlash on social media, with a handful of Republican lawmakers denouncing the basketball player’s comment.
Lebron James is inciting violence against an Ohio police officer.
This is disgraceful and dangerous.
Is the NBA okay with this? Is Twitter?
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 21, 2021
Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Ohio) echoed Cotton’s sentiment, writing on Twitter that “People like LeBron James and his friends on the left are driving good people away from careers in law enforcement.”
“This is the exact OPPOSITE of how to improve policing,” he added.
People like LeBron James and his friends on the left are driving good people away from careers in law enforcement.
This is the exact OPPOSITE of how to improve policing.
— Representative Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) April 21, 2021
James later said that he deleted the Tweet because it was “used to create more hate.”
He said he is “so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” adding that “it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism.”
“I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” he continued.
I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because its being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
James has been a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement over the past year, often making statements calling for justice in cases involving Black Americans killed at the hands of police.
Bryant was killed on Tuesday evening, moments before the jury announced a guilty verdict for all three charges in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death.
Body camera footage released Tuesday showed an officer, believed to Reardon, approaching an altercation that involved Bryant. Soon after asking what was going on, the officer takes out his handgun and fires off four shots when Bryant appears to lunge at another girl.
“She had a knife. She just went at her,” the officer can be heard saying.
“She’s a f—ing kid man,” a witness yelled back
Via The Hill