Donald Trump says the NBA has become a ‘political organization’ after Jacob Blake

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President Donald Trump mocked the National Basketball Association Thursday when asked about the player-driven protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Asked about the protest during a FEMA briefing, Trump said he didn’t ‘know much’ about the protest, then proceeded to attack the league. 

‘I don’t know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad. Because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly,’ he said. For Trump, a former realty TV star, calling out someone for low ratings is a deep slight. 

 President Donald President Trump said the NBA’s TV ratings have been ‘very bad’ when asked about player-driven protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer

But I don’t know too much about the protest. But I know I know their ratings have been very bad. And that’s unfortunate.

‘They’ve become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or the country,’ Trump said.

Trump spoke hours after the Milwaukee Bucks kicked off a protest that spread throughout the NBA and other sports leagues.

Three NBA playoff games were postponed Wednesday, in a walk-out that spread to the WNBA and Major League Baseball.  

Eric Trump, who helps run the Trump Organization, was on hand for the president's FEMA briefing following a campaign fundraiser at the president's Washington, D.C. hotel

Eric Trump, who helps run the Trump Organization, was on hand for the president’s FEMA briefing following a campaign fundraiser at the president’s Washington, D.C. hotel

President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a briefing on Hurricane Laura in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters, in Washington, DC, USA, 27 August 2020. Hurricane Laura made landfall early in the morning on 27 August as a Category 4 Hurricane

President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a briefing on Hurricane Laura in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters, in Washington, DC, USA, 27 August 2020. Hurricane Laura made landfall early in the morning on 27 August as a Category 4 Hurricane

 Trump spoke after top advisors also spoke dismissively about the protests. 

 Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner took a dig Thursday at professional basketball players who cancelled their scheduled playoff game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Kushner, who like Trump expanded a real estate empire built by his father, pointed to the wealth amassed by top NBA players, while Mike Pence‘s chief of staff Marc Short dismissed the protest saying: ‘I don’t think we care.’

The prominent White House officials spoke after the National Basketball Association postponed games amid protests over the shooting and the protest spread to MLB and MLS.

LeBron James, the sport’s biggest star, tweeted: ‘F*** THIS MAN!!!!WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.’ 

Blake was shot seven times in the back during an encounter with police – an event that prompted three nights of street protests and violent clashes.

Asked if the White House supported the players, Kushner said: ‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.

‘So they have that luxury, which is great,’ he told CNBC‘s Squawk Box.

'Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,' Jared Kushner said when asked about the NBA walk-out in response to the killing of Jacob Blake

‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ Jared Kushner said when asked about the NBA walk-out in response to the killing of Jacob Blake

‘Look I think with the NBA there’s a lot of activism and I think that they put a lot of slogans out but I think that what we need to do is turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s going to solve the problem,’ he said.

Then Kushner went on to name four Trump administration policies: criminal justice reform, opportunity zones meant to steer investments into distressed communities, school choice, historically black colleges. 

He didn’t specifically mention protesters’ complaints about police shootings of minorities. Kushner has been a key negotiator on criminal justice reform meant to reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders. 

‘People don’t like seeing what’s happening in a lot of these cities. President Trump has been very strong in saying we don’t want violence in these cities,’ Kushner said.

He spoke hours after the Milwaukee Bucks staged a walkout of their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Two other NBA matchups were also postponed, and the WNBA and Major League Baseball also postponed games.

Short conducted cable TV interviews hours after Pence warned at his Republican convention speech that ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.’

The convention rolled on amid a fourth night of protests in Kenosha, and the arrest of a suspect in the killing of two people who was immediately identified as having attended a Trump rally in Des Moines in January. 

Short fielded repeated questions about why Pence didn’t speak out specifically agains the shooting of Blake, the latest police shooting to rock the nation. 

‘He said specifically he wants to bring an end to the violence,’ said Pence.

Asked if the administration supports the protest, Short responded: ‘Look I don’t know that you’re going to see the administration weigh in on that tone way or the other. In my mind it’s absurd, it’s silly,’ he said. 

Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: 'I don't think we care'

Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: ‘I don’t think we care’

Demonstrators march in the streets on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the city declared a state of emergency curfew, a fourth night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23

Demonstrators march in the streets on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the city declared a state of emergency curfew, a fourth night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23

Benches sit empty at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Benches sit empty at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

 Short spoke after the basketball protest proliferated into one of the most widespread in the history of U.S. sport.  

Bucks players said in a statement released Wednesday: ‘Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.’

‘When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable.’ They continued: ‘We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.

‘We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,’ said the statement. 

Speaking hours after his initial comments, Kushner softened his criticism and said he would reach out to NBA great LeBron James.

“I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,’ Kushner told Politico. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them,” he said.  

Aug 26, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Grounds crew work on the field as Black Lives Matter video plays on the scoreboard before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. at Oracle Park

Aug 26, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Grounds crew work on the field as Black Lives Matter video plays on the scoreboard before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. at Oracle Park

Demonstrators protest the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A police officer shot Blake seven times in the back in front of his three children. The shooting sparked three consecutive days of rioting in the city

Demonstrators protest the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A police officer shot Blake seven times in the back in front of his three children. The shooting sparked three consecutive days of rioting in the city

Former President Barack Obama commended the players and coaches including Doc Rivers

Former President Barack Obama commended the players and coaches including Doc Rivers

The statements from the White House came hours after the Republican Convention was organized around a ‘law and order’ theme.  A line of speakers pointed to unrest in the streets.

”There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder. People who can afford to flee have fled,’ said South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Michael McHale, who heads the National Association of Police Unions, called the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket ‘the most radical anti-police ticket in history.’ 

Pence unequivocally sided with law enforcement. ‘And under President Trump, we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line and we’re not going to defund the police, not now not ever,’ he said.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Thursday: ‘The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety, and law and order.’



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