When President Donald Trump took to Twitter and questioned if three African-American UCLA basketball players would thank him for the role that he played in securing their release from China following shoplifting charges last week, many viewed his caveat as self-aggrandizing and unnecessary.
Nevertheless, the student-athletes thanked Trump during a press conference on Thursday, and Trump tweeted “you’re welcome” to freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.
However, many in the African-American community compared this to when Trump assailed NFL players—70 percent of whom are Black—for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem to protest the killing of unarmed Black men by police.
Trump called them “sons of bitches” and suggested league owners should “fire players” who disrespected the flag.
This could be interpreted as yet another unsolicited attack on Black men from a president who has a history of this and is viewed by some as having a problem with Black male masculinity.
In his first official press conference, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer condemned the accurate reporting that the crowd size for former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration was larger than Trump’s.
But it goes back even further. Just last year, Trump reasserted that he still believed the “Central Park 5,” Black men wrongly convicted of the 1989 rape of 28-year-old White banker, were still guilty, even after a convicted rapist and murderer with matching crime-scene DNA confessed and was arrested in 2002. Trump’s assertion came after New York paid more than $41 million in a 2014 settlement.