"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," the First Lady said in a statement released by spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham reports Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire.
NEW: from Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham:
“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”— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 4, 2018
"Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron," Grisham added.
More from Melania Trump’s spokeswoman:
“Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron”— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 4, 2018
On Friday night, the President tweeted about CNN anchor Don Lemon's interview with James, writing, "Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!"
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
In the CNN interview, James focused on the I Promise School, which he founded in association with the Akron Public School system to help at-risk children in his hometown. However, James did touch on politics, expressing disappointment with Trump's relationship to sports teams.
"What I've noticed over the past few months, [is] he's kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that's something that I can't relate to," James told Lemon. He referenced Trump's reaction to NFL players' protests of police brutality and racial injustice and the decision by his rival, Golden State Warriros star Steph Curry, to skip a White House visit.
"I can't sit back and say nothing," James said, explaining that sports should be used to unify.
"Sports was the first time I was ever around someone white," James said. "I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me ... And I was like, 'Oh wow, this is all because of sports.'"
Lemon also asked James if he would ever meet with Trump. "I would never sit across from him," James quickly replied.
At the end of Trump's tweet, he added, "I like Mike," a reference to the debate over the greatest basketball player of all time, James or Michael Jordan. Jordan responded to that, praising James for helping his community.
"I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community," Jordan told NBC News through a spokesperson.
NEW: Jordan sides with James over Trump tweet. NBA legend Michael Jordan tells NBC News through a spokesperson: "I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 4, 2018
Trump's tweet also contradicted past statements from the president, in which he has repeatedly said he no longer watches CNN, which he has decried as "Fake News." The New York Times even reported last month that Trump was "enraged" when he saw CNN on Melania's TV on Air Force One.
Grisham later issued a statement saying Melania can watch "any channel she wants."0comments
"Did you know that every 15 minutes a baby is born with NAS? Maybe you'd like to talk about the 160,000 kids who skip school every day for fear of being bullied, or that 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools every month," Grisham told CNN. "Seems kind of silly to worry about what channel she watches on TV (any channel she wants btw) or if she heard some recording on the news."
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