‘Morning Joe’ co-hosts blast the president for criticizing the black father of one of the college basketball players arrested in China
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski accused President Donald Trump on Monday of making “racist overtures” when he blasted via Twitter the father of one of the three UCLA college basketball players detained in China on Sunday for being “unaccepting of what I did for his son.”
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested and detained in China earlier in November on shoplifting charges. While visiting China, Trump took the opportunity to intercede on the players’ behalf with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The three players were allowed to return to the U.S. on Tuesday and conducted a press conference Wednesday in which all three of them thanked Trump for his efforts.
But LiAngelo Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, dismissed the president’s part in his son’s release and return to the U.S., telling ESPN on Friday when asked about Trump, “Who?”
“What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” LaVar Ball, an outspoken former basketball and football player and the CEO of sports apparel company Big Baller Brand, told ESPN.
Trump fired back at LaVar Ball in a tweet Sunday, saying, “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”
But Scarborough and Brzezinski read into Trump’s criticism of LaVar Ball during a segment Monday morning as they accused the president of exhibiting “racism” through his criticism of a black father.
“Two things. One, it is so important for journalists, reporters, editors to understand that so often Donald Trump says outrageous things to shock,” Scarborough said. “To distract from all the Russia stuff going on, from the Roy Moore race … to numb people. It’s a great propaganda tool, historians say. That’s part one of it.”
“But the second part of it is, of course, it’s — there’s racist overtures here where the black man was not appreciative of what the white man did for him,” Scarborough continued, accusing Trump of harboring “latent racism.”
Brzezinski chimed in, saying that “racism is a real kind of thread throughout this presidency and [Trump’s] campaign.” She took particular issue with Trump’s reaction to the deadly, race-fueled rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in August, along with controversies stemming from Trump’s presidential campaign. The president’s proposed travel ban on travelers from terrorism-compromised countries and his comments about a judge with Mexican heritage also made the cut for Brzezinski.