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Trump reignites feud with father of UCLA player accused of shoplifting

Reuters
NEWS
62   //    22 Nov 2017, 17:24 IST
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball, and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday reignited a feud with the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players who was detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting, calling him an "ungrateful fool" in a series of early morning tweets.

LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, has played down Trump’s involvement in the three athletes’ release from after they admitted to stealing items from three stores during a team trip to China earlier this month.

"...LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!," Trump tweeted.

In another tweet, Trump took sole credit for getting LiAngelo Ball out of a long term prison sentence and not the White House, the State Department or LaVar Ball's associates in China.

"IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think..," Trump tweeted, referring to boxing promoter Don King.

The three players apologized and thanked Trump for helping secure their release by raising the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit. All three players have been suspended indefinitely from the UCLA basketball team.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he “should have left them in jail!”

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff)

Reuters
NEWS
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