Trump branches out from football, now feuding with Steph Curry and LeBron James too; Update: Trump doubles down
He might as well start some sh*t with Aaron Judge or Adam Jones just so that he has fights going in all three major sports. Take a shot at Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo while he’s at it, make this thing go global.
No, no, just kidding. Soccer isn’t really a “sport.”
Culturally the difference between dogging household names like LeBron and Curry and dogging an NFL rando who walks around wearing Castro t-shirts is the difference between playing one-on-one with LeBron or Curry and playing one-on-one with, um, Donald Trump. Even so, although I don’t think Trump’s behaving strategically in doing it — never underestimate personal pique as a motive in what he does — it’ll probably work out for him strategically.
That had been retweeted 36,000 times as of 1 p.m. ET, after having been online for about five hours. This one had been retweeted 220,000 times after having been online for less than two hours:
The comments from Curry that started this are embedded below. “Fox & Friends” picked them up this morning and, as surely as the sun rises in the east, a reaction bubbled up on the presidential Twitter account 20 minutes later. It’d be worth knowing if this is a standing disinvitation or whether it expires a year from now, as the Warriors are probably going to win the next three titles too.
Chris Paul, another all-star and the president of the NBA Players Association, is in on the fun:
Apart from the Kardashians, Kanye, Taylor Swift, Oprah, and a few others, there’s no bigger name in American life for Trump to have as an enemy than James. There’s no bigger name in sports for sure. Now that the NBA’s two most prominent stars are on his list and he’s on theirs, the pre-game protests will inevitably spread from football to basketball and maybe spread from racism and police brutality as their focus to Trump as the target. All of which … works out pretty well for both sides. Liberals are forever grumbling that pro athletes aren’t as “socially conscious” as they should be given their influence; James and Curry have the cachet to change that, and to do so at the expense of Democrats’ least favorite politician. Trump fans will hate every minute of that and some apolitical fans will grow annoyed at having politics crammed into yet another form of entertainment, and the backlash will benefit Trump. As a matter of raw populism, you can’t do better than the white-identity-politics president in a war of words with a group of black superstar athletes defending another black athlete known for complaining about how oppressive America is. I’d bet a kidney that Steve Bannon, Trump’s populist id, couldn’t be more excited about last night’s shot at anthem protests and today’s fallout.
One of these days during a break from the endless “national conversation on race” we need a national conversation on when it is and isn’t fair for an employer to force out a “son of a bitch” employee for his politics. Somewhere among Brendan Eich, James Damore, and Colin Kaepernick lies consensus. In the abstract, though, Americans are sympathetic to giving workers broad latitude to get political. A Harvard-Harris poll taken last month found that 70 percent at least somewhat support the idea of extending the First Amendment to protect people from being fired or demoted at work for expressing their political views. That’s a dubious proposal since it would mean sacrificing some of an employer’s own First Amendment rights in the process but it shows you that Americans prefer not to see people fired for political expression. We just happen to have a president who disagrees, apparently.
If Trump wants to keep this feud going, and he probably should, he’ll tweet back at LeBron, “I’d disinvite you too if I thought you’d ever win another championship.”
Update: Kobe Bryant piles on:
A loyalty test to play pro football or basketball? Bananas.