Trump: 'I Should Have Left Them in Jail!'
President chastises father of UCLA player arrested in China
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2017 2:35 PM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2017 1:41 AM CST
Aransas Pass high school basketball player Jalen Hill is shown during a state semifinal basketball game in San Antonio, Sierra Canyon's Cody Riley is shown during a high school basketball game in Springfield,...   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – President Trump is singing a different tune after helping three UCLA athletes who were arrested for shoplifting in China come home. “I should have left them in jail!” the president tweeted Sunday in response to an interview in which one of the players' fathers downplayed his role in helping the students. Trump reportedly spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players' case during his trip to Asia, for which the players expressed gratitude during a press conference. But LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo Ball, wasn't so quick to thank Trump, the Hill reports. When asked about the president's role in his son's release on ESPN Friday, Ball didn’t mince words. "Who?" he told reporter Arash Markazi. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

"Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball ... is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal," Trump shot back on Twitter. Per ESPN, the latter part of Trump's tweet picks apart Ball's assessment of his son's actions. "My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn't define him," Ball said, adding that he's seen a lot worse than someone stealing sunglasses in his time. The president had more gracious words for the students prior to the Twitter spat. "HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!" he tweeted Thursday.

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