President Trump lashed out on the basketball star LeBron James in a scathing assault on Twitter on Friday evening after Mr. James criticized the president in an interview on CNN.
In a wide-ranging interview with Don Lemon, an anchor on CNN, on Monday, Mr. James spoke a few college for at-risk kids that he not too long ago helped open in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, in a partnership between his philanthropic basis and the town’s public faculties. Through the interview, he additionally mentioned Mr. Trump was utilizing sports activities to divide the nation.
The interview was aired once more on Friday evening, and Mr. Trump responded on Twitter shortly after, insulting Mr. James’s intelligence and that of Mr. Lemon.
“Lebron James was simply interviewed by the dumbest man on tv, Don Lemon,” Mr. Trump wrote. “He made Lebron look good, which isn’t straightforward to do. I like Mike!”
The reference to “Mike” seemed to be Mr. Trump’s approach of taking sides within the debate over who’s the best basketball participant of all time: Mr. James or Michael Jordan.
Mr. Lemon came to Mr. James’s defense on Saturday morning, tweeting: “Who’s the true dummy? A person who places children in lecture rooms or one who places children in cages?” He added the hashtag #BeBest, a reference to an initiative by the primary girl, Melania Trump, that aims to help children.
Through the interview, Mr. James mentioned conversations about race had “taken over” partially as a result of “our president is sort of making an attempt to divide us.”
“Sort of?” Mr. Lemon mentioned, adopted by a chuckle.
“He’s,” Mr. James mentioned. “He’s dividing us.”
Mr. James mentioned his involvement in sports activities was the primary time “I ever was round somebody white,” including, “And I received a chance to see them and find out about them they usually received a chance to find out about me, and we turned excellent buddies.”
Mr. James has been important of the president previously. Final September he called Mr. Trump a “bum” after the president appeared to disinvite the N.B.A. championship-winning Golden State Warriors from a standard White Home go to as a result of considered one of their stars, Stephen Curry, criticized Mr. Trump.
“U bum @StephenCurry30 already mentioned he ain’t going!” Mr. James wrote on Twitter. “So due to this fact ain’t no invite. Going to White Home was a terrific honor till you confirmed up!”
In June, earlier than Mr. James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, Mr. Curry and Mr. James united in the course of the N.B.A. finals to say that they might boycott the White Home.
“I do know whoever wins this sequence, nobody needs an invitation,” Mr. James mentioned on the time. Afterward, Mr. Trump introduced that neither team was invited.
On Monday, the identical day because the CNN interview, Mr. James instructed ESPN that he felt compelled to talk out concerning the Trump administration.
“For somebody to attempt to divide us through the use of our platform of sport?” he mentioned. “Sport has given me every thing I might ever ask for. I couldn’t let that occur.”
Mr. Trump’s tweet on Saturday was swiftly condemned by many on social media, together with Dan Somewhat, the previous CBS Information anchor, who mentioned the president’s phrases have been racist.
“That is apparently what the President of the US feels the necessity to share with the world at what ought to be gone his bedtime? It’s a shame. It’s racist. And it’s the product of petty however harmful hatreds,” Mr. Rather wrote. “I repeat that is the PRESIDENT??!?”
Quite a few present and former N.B.A. gamers additionally denounced the president’s tweet.
As of Saturday morning, Mr. James remained silent on the matter.
By late Saturday morning, the president had moved on, and was wishing the Coast Guard a contented birthday on Twitter.