A Day Before Thanksgiving, Trump Slams Father of UCLA Basketball Player as “Ungrateful”

The president can’t seem to quit his feud with LaVar Ball.


Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

One day before families across the country gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump is blasting one man as an “ungrateful fool” because of his refusal to lavish words of appreciation on the president.

Trump on Wednesday intensified his ongoing attacks against LaVar Ball, the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China last month, labeling him a “poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.” 

The newest attack comes after Ball on Friday openly questioned the extent to which Trump played a role in his son’s release, after LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were caught shoplifting. The president has repeatedly claimed that he was crucial in securing Ball’s freedom.

“Who?” Ball responded when ESPN asked about Trump Friday. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Trump seized on the remarks, suggesting a day later that he should have left the players in jail.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend