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LeBron James slams ‘divisive’ Donald Trump as president spends MLK day playing golf

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 2:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 10:08pm

LeBron James has slammed Donald Trump on Martin Luther King Jnr Day, while protests broke out near the president’s Florida resort.

The three-time NBA champion accused the US president is being “divisive” and promoting racism just days after the president referred to African countries as “s***holes”.

Referring to President Trump, whom the Cavaliers star has openly criticised in the past, James said that honouring the legacy of MLK is more important than ever because “we’re trying to be divided right now by somebody.”

Turning to Trump, James said: “The guy in control has given people and racism – and negative racism – an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear.

“And that’s the fearful thing for us because it’s with you, and it’s around every day, but he’s allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game tonight with the Golden State Warriors, James credited the NBA for playing games as a tribute “for a man who stood for more than himself.”

The guy in control has given people and racism … an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear
LeBron James

“He actually gave up his life for the betterment of all of us to be able to live in a free world and for us to be able to have a voice, for us to go out and be free no matter your skin colour, no matter who you are,” James said. . … “He took a bullet for all of us.”

While James was taking part in the NBA tribute, Trump himself was spending the holiday playing golf at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida – unlike many previous presidents, who have used the holiday to volunteer, or visit memorials.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited an junior school on Martin Luther King Avenue in Washington with the White House Mentorship and Leadership Program, among others.

In 2008 his predecessor, George W Bush, visited the Martin Luther King, Jnr Memorial Library in Washington, where he met children.

Trump presidency ‘at odds’ with Martin Luther King’s legacy

The fact that Trump spent several hours playing golf was perhaps surprising given that he had used a speech on Friday about Martin Luther King, Jnr day to “encourage all Americans to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honour of Dr. King’s extraordinary life”.

At about 11am, roughly two hours after he arrived at the golf club, Trump retweeted the White House post containing his weekly address, this one honouring King.

“Dr. King’s dream is our dream. It is the American dream. It’s the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people, and written into the soul of humankind,” Trump said in the video message released Monday.

Down the street from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, Haitian protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposing corners.

The Haitians and their supporters shouted “Our country is not a s***hole,” referring to comments the president reportedly made.

The smaller pro-Trump contingent waved American flags and campaign posters and yelled “Trump is making America great again.” One man could be seen telling the Haitians to leave the country.

It was not clear whether Trump plans to volunteer for services later in the day, although the only event on his public schedule is the flight returning to Washington in the afternoon.

The video spurred on social media users who felt the President’s words were not consistent with his actions.

In Washington, King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticised Trump, saying, “When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”

“We got to find a way to work on this man’s heart,” he added

He was reacting to Trump’s remarks during an Oval Office meeting that Haiti, El Salvador and unnamed African countries are “s***holes” who send subpar immigrants to the US.

Also critical of Trump was Democrat Representative John Lewis, who joined Martin Luther King Jnr in the 1963 March on Washington, branded Trump a racist in an interview Sunday.

The president’s vulgar remark last week was only the latest example of his alleged racism, Lewis and other Trump critics have said.