WASHINGTON — Melania Trump has publicly praised basketball star LeBron James, putting daylight between the president and his wife.
“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” Stephanie Grisham, the First Lady’s spokesperson, said in a statement released Saturday. “Just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”
The statement came after Trump attacked both James and CNN anchor Don Lemon — who are both black — in a late-night tweet Friday.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
The interview was focused on James’ I PROMISE school initiative, a project to improve the quality of education in select public schools with a mixture of public and private cooperation. An I Promise School for at-risk students opened in Akron, Ohio, last week.
James commented on Trump during the exchange with Lemon, stating that he would not sit down with the president and arguing that Trump has attacked athletes as a way to divide Americans.
Grisham added in her statement that the first lady would be open to visiting the new school.
Basketball legend Michael Jordon, to whom Trump’s tweet presumably referred, also expressed support for James over the weekend. Jordan issued a statement through his spokesperson to The Associated Press on Saturday that said: “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”