August 5, 2018

Trump Mocks LeBron James’s Intelligence and Calls Don Lemon ‘Dumbest Man’ on TV

President Trump lashed out at the basketball star LeBron James in a scathing attack on Twitter on Friday night after Mr. James criticized the president in an interview on CNN.

In a wide-ranging interview with Don Lemon, an anchor on CNN, Mr. James spoke about a school for at-risk children that he recently helped open in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, in a partnership between his philanthropic foundation and the city’s public schools. During the interview on Monday, he also said Mr. Trump was using sports to divide the country.
The interview was aired again on Friday night, and Mr. Trump responded on Twitter shortly after, insulting Mr. James’s intelligence and that of Mr. Lemon.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Mr. Trump wrote. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
The reference to “Mike” appeared to be Mr. Trump’s way of taking sides in the debate over who is the greatest basketball player of all time: Mr. James or Michael Jordan.
Through a representative, Mr. Jordan told reporters: “I support L.J. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
Mr. Trump has often heralded his own I.Q. and has questioned the intelligence of others, including Jon Stewart and George W. Bush.
His tweet about Mr. James and Mr. Lemon came days after he declared at a campaign rally that Representative Maxine Waters of California, a Democrat who is black, had a “very low I.Q.”

The latest attacks, directed at prominent black people, appeared to widen the racial divide that Mr. James spoke about on CNN.
“I would like to know why he considers these two successful black men ‘dumb,’” Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, said on Twitter. “I know why.”
Mr. Trump made his comment a day before a scheduled appearance on Saturday night in Ohio — home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and many LeBron James fans — to campaign for Troy Balderson, a state senator who is running in a special election for the House of Representatives.
Mr. Lemon came to Mr. James’s defense on Saturday morning, tweeting: “Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages?” He added the hashtag #BeBest, a reference to an initiative by the first lady, Melania Trump, that aims to help children.
Stephanie Grisham, Ms. Trump’s communications director, said in a statement: “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

During the CNN interview, Mr. James said conversations about race had “taken over” in part because “our president is kind of trying to divide us.” “Kind of?” Mr. Lemon said, followed by a chuckle.
“He is,” Mr. James said. “He’s dividing us.”
Mr. James said his involvement in sports was the first time “I ever was around someone white,” adding, “And I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got an opportunity to learn about me, and we became very good friends.”

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