Saturday, August 4, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lost his nerve (and his wife) in his fight with LeBron James.

Under pressure from the Mueller investigation, Trump has been moody lately even by his standards. Late last night, he erupted at basketball superstar LeBron James on Twitter, insulting James' intelligence and saying that he preferred Michael Jordan. 

Jordan responded this morning with a clear message of support for James--and was joined in that support by Melania Trump, who may lately have other reasons than sports to take the side of people who antagonize her husband. The usually reclusive first lady said through a spokesperson that she was open to visiting James' school.

While Twitter tantrums provoked by TV shows are nothing new for Trump, the timing of this one is interesting. The interview that set Trump off was about the charter school for at-risk children that James just opened in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship in 2016 and is highly regarded on and off the court throughout the basketball world, but will play for the Los Angeles Lakers in the coming season. Trump, who has made a specialty of trolling black athletes during his presidency, may have decided that James' departure from a state he desperately needs in Republican hands made him a safe target.

If so, that courage was short-lived. Trump spent this evening in suburban Columbus at a rally for a Republican candidate in a congressional special election. In spite of the fact that, true to rally form, most of his remarks were an airing of grievances rather than an actual endorsement of the candidate, Trump did not mention James.

Why does this matter?

  • Donald Trump, of all people, probably doesn't want to be drawing attention to his own history with philanthropy and schools.
  • A president who can't hear criticism without lashing out can't handle the job.