Melania Trump has praised LeBron James for his charity work, saying she is open to visiting his new public school, hours after her husband Donald Trump questioned the NBA superstar’s intelligence.
Trump posted a scathing tweet questioning James’ intelligence after the three-time champion said in an interview that the President was “using sports to kinda divide people” and he would “never sit across from him”.
In a volley of late-night tweets, Trump publicly lashed out at James, questioning his intelligence and terming his interviewer from CNN Don Lemon as the “dumbest man” on television.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
“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,” Melania’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.
“As you know, Mrs Trump has travelled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organisations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron,” she said in a statement to CNN.
James recently opened the school for underprivileged children in his home town of Akron, Ohio. He said the school prioritized a holistic experience for students that include sports, which he described as critical for healthy communities.
Many professional athletes, including basketball legend Michael Jordan, have been critical of Trump’s statements.
“I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan said in a statement. James, one of the most prominent athletes in the US, has been critical of Trump for years.
Last year, he called Trump a “bum” for rescinding his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to celebrate their basketball championship with a visit to the White House.
“Going to the White House was a great honour until you showed up!” James had tweeted.