Melania Trump praises LeBron James after president's insult

LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron Ohio Monday

In a tweet posted late Friday night, Trump criticized James for an interview he recently did with another prominent African American, CNN anchor Don Lemon. The spokesperson of the first lady of U.S. later issued a surprising statement in which she has heaped praises for the National Basketball Association star. "A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages?" he posted, referring to a school that James has started for at-risk children in his hometown and the Trump administration policy of separating children from families crossing into the USA illegally. "Her platform centres around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron (the school started by James)". In his interview with Lemon, he said he'd consider running for president if he believed he was the only person who could stop Trump from being re-elected.

Her communications director, Ms Stephanie Grisham, told CNN in a statement that James appeared to be "working to do good things on behalf of our next generation".

While NBA athletes, entertainers and politicians alike fired off a flurry of responses directed at the president, James' first tweet following Trump's diss made no mention of the former reality TV star turned politician.

"I support LJ. He's doing an incredible job for his community", Mr. Jordan said in a statement. James also said he has no interest in sitting down for a face-to-face meeting Trump.

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Grisham added the first lady "would be open to visiting" James' new school.

Even the president's wife was supportive of James' work with children. The former reality TV star ended the tweet with "I like Mike", seemingly siding with Michael Jordan in the GOAT debate.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to clarify Trump's remarks. In the feature, James criticises Trump's attempt to use sports as a divisive tool. "Who's the real dummy?" Perhaps Trump's tweet was an attempt for Trump to get back at LeBron, but that came with much backlash from the sports community. According to TMZ, she released a statement praising LeBron for his philanthropy and support of students in need.

Last year, Mr Trump also withdrew an invitation to the National Basketball Association champions Warriors after Curry and several teammates indicated misgivings about attending a White House event.

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