President Trump found out about the great U.C.L.A.-China basketball episode of 2017 when members of his staff saw it on CNN just before Mr. Trump’s dinner with the president of China in Beijing last week.
They learned that three American college basketball players — representing a storied sports program visiting China for an early-season game sponsored by one of China’s largest companies — had been arrested on Nov. 8, accused of stealing designer sunglasses at a high-end shopping mall.
The alleged offense was hardly life or death. But what begun as a simple accusation of celebrity shoplifting threatened to escalate into a full-blown international incident just as Mr. Trump arrived in China on a 12-day mission through Asia, his first foreign trip to the region.
But just as concern deepened about the fate of the three young athletes in China, their detention abruptly ended, aided, it seems, by Mr. Trump’s direct intervention with the country’s president, Xi Jinping. On Tuesday, the three players, including the star freshman LiAngelo Ball, the brother of the N.B.A. rookie Lonzo Ball, were allowed to leave their hotel and board a flight back to California.
The three college basketball players that were released from detention in China thanked President Donald Trump Wednesday after the president publicly wondered if they would show gratitude.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” Trump tweeted.
University of California, Los Angeles basketball players Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball were all arrested in Beijing last week for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store. They returned to the U.S. Tuesday night and will not face charges.
Trump told reporters Tuesday that he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping who intervened in the situation.
“The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi. What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. They do not play games,” Trump said aboard Air Force One Tuesday. “He was terrific, and they’re working on it right now. And hopefully everything is going to work out. And I know they’re very grateful because they were told exactly what happened.”
“We really appreciate you helping us out,” UCLA’s Riley said about President Trump.
This is the right thing to do after all President Trump did rescue them from the tough situation!
Do you agree?
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Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He writes for Supreme Insider, Red State Nation, Defiant America, and Right Journalism. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it’s appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn’t be censored. Join him & let’s spread the good word!