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President Donald Trump riffed on NBA star LeBron James during an interview with conservative talk radio king Rush Limbaugh Friday, while also noting that the Black Lives Matter organization was founded by self-professed Marxists.
The president, who has remained at the White House after being released on Monday from Walter Reed Military Medical Center where he received treatment for COVID-19, also hit on the NBA’s low ratings for its championship series between James’ L.A. Lakers and the Miami Heat.
Trump also criticized the NBA’s overt BLM and social justice messaging adopted for the coronavirus-truncated season in the wake of highly publicized incidents involving police and black suspects.
“The NBA has become so political that nobody cares about it anymore,” the president said, in what was likely a reference to the championship series’ cratering viewership.
Perhaps mindful of the league’s poor ratings, Commissioner Adam Silver suggested last week that for next season, much of the politically-charged messaging will be “largely left off the floor.”
“I don’t know anybody that’s watching the NBA,” the president told Limbaugh, adding: “LeBron is a spokesman for the Democratic party and a very nasty spokesman.”
Trump also highlighted his and Republicans’ efforts to focus on legislation and other issues that are important to the black community, which has included guaranteed long-term funding for historically black colleges, criminal justice reform, and — prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic — low unemployment rates and higher wages.
“Because, again, I’ve done so much for the black community and people don’t wanna see that and he’s a great basketball player but people don’t wanna see a guy that way,” said the president.
“They don’t want to see that. We have enough difficulty during the week, you don’t wanna sit down watching a basketball game and then watch somebody that hates your guts, okay, He’s a hater,” Trump continued.
James has been an outspoken critic of police, as well as an enthusiastic supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Politically, he’s been a backer of the Democratic Party and came out in support of former first lady Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“Angry,” Limbaugh agreed: “They are. They are angry.”
Continuing, Trump called out the BLM movement as a “Marxist organization,” likely a reference to co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who said she and co-founder Alicia Garza were “trained Marxists” during a 2015 interview. Also in 2015, Garza told the left-wing convention Left Forum that capitalism must be abolished, a primary economic objective for Marxist political movements.
“And now I understand — don’t forget, Black Lives Matter, what was Black Lives Matter? ‘Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,’” the president said, referring to a chant BLM supporters have used go demonize police during past protests.
“The first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, I said that’s such a terrible term because it’s such a racist term. It’s a term that sows division between blacks and whites and everybody else. And it’s a very bad term, for blacks. But they were very angry. It’s a Marxist organization,” Trump said.
Nationwide support for the BLM movement surged in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May, but then dipped again in the wake of widespread violence and rioting that followed, lasting all summer and continuing into the fall.
All of the officers involved in the Floyd incident have been charged with crimes including murder and are awaiting trial.
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