Washington: US President Donald Trump has said that he should have left three UCLA basketball players jailed in China for shoplifting, citing lack of sufficient gratitude on the part of one player’s father.
Trump was on Asia tour at the time of the players’ arrest and said he personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve their case.
“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 said on Twitter yesterday.
“Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump said in a tweet.
This was in response to former basketball player LaVar Ball’s brushing off any role Trump had in his son’s release from a Chinese prison.
“Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” LaVarr told ESPN in an interview.
Soon after Trump’s China visit, the three players were release by the country within a week.
All the three players thanked Trump and apologised for their actions in a press conference shortly after their release.
The three players have been suspended indefinitely from the UCLA basketball programme while the school reviews the situation.
The players were arrested in early this month after shoplifting from three stores near their hotel, according to UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. Police identified them after searching their bags and finding the stolen items.
The charges were dropped after the players admitted guilt, school officials said.