Trump is known for lying about things on a regular basis, some news organizations have even been keeping track and have the count upwards of 2000 and now we have one more whopper to add to the list.
It turns out that Trump was lying when he said he saved three UCLA basketball players who got caught shoplifting in China. One of the players was LiAngelo Ball, son of LaVar Ball. The other two were players Jalen Hill and Cody Riley.
Twelve hours after their arrest for stealing from a Louis Vuitton store the three were released on bail but with their passports withheld. They were free to travel around the city as UCLA and Pac-12 officials, with help from Alibaba chairman Tsai and the Federation University Sports China, resolved the situation.
Then, two days later, the charges were dropped, their bail money was returned to them and their passports were released. There was one condition, they were not permitted to go home to the US until Tuesday, one week after their arrest. The other players on the team left three days before Ball, Riley and Hill.
“It was important for [Chinese authorities] that the players were left back for a couple of days after the rest of the team flew home,” a UCLA source said. “We agreed not to say anything and not comment until they returned home. They wanted there to be some kind of punishment and avoid the perception that they got off easy. Their flights were switched from Saturday night to Tuesday night, so they were going back home 72 hours after the rest of the team. So, it wasn’t like we found out Tuesday morning they were coming home that day. We knew. That was already the plan Friday morning.”
On Nov. 15 President Trump took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”
The president said he didn’t get in touch with Chinese president Xi Jinping about the incident until November 12 but by then the situation had already been resolved.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called UCLA officials that day to let them know Trump was “very optimistic that this would be taken care of in short order.” The players had no need for Trump to step in as they were already in the clear.
“The situation was already resolved by the time we heard about Trump’s involvement,” a source stated. “That’s not to take away from the fact that he got involved, but the players already had their passports back and their flights booked to go home Tuesday night when Gen. Kelly called the players.”
The players went on to thank Trump after being asked to do so in order to “not create another story by not thanking him.” LiAngelo’s father, LaVar Ball didn’t get the memo apparently. When asked about Trump’s involvement he said, “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
This led to a feud the likes of which only Trump can enter into.
The bottom line is that Trump was not needed in order to resolve what happened to the basketball players in China and while he would have you pat him on the back for solving the problem, he didn’t actually do anything.