President Donald Trump appeared disappointed that the three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China had not thanked him for negotiating their release after he personally intervened with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?” he asked on Twitter. “They were headed for 10 years in jail!”:
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
The three players — LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill — did not respond to media questions at the airport after they returned to Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, they plan to make a statement Wednesday night before a game against Central Arkansas.
They were detained in China after being accused of shoplifting at a luxury goods store during their stay in the country for a basketball game against Georgia Tech.
White House chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, revealed to the New York Times details of Trump’s personal negotiations.
“Our president said to Xi, ‘Do you know anything about these knuckleheads that got caught allegedly stealing?’” Mr. Kelly said. “The president was saying, ‘It’s not too serious. We’d love to see this taken care of in an expeditious way.’”