POLITICS
08/04/2018 05:04 pm ET

Melania Trump Comes To LeBron James’ Defense After President Insulted Him

President Donald Trump insulted the NBA star's intelligence in a late-night tweet.

Looks like the first lady is trying to Be Best.

Hours after President Donald Trump insulted the intelligence of NBA superstar LeBron James and CNN reporter Don Lemon in one fell tweet, Melania Trump offered a different viewpoint through spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

Melania Trump split with the president by voicing support for James, who this week opened a new public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. She might even like to stop by and see it.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” Grisham said on behalf of Melania Trump on Saturday afternoon. “Just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

Late Friday night, President Trump called Lemon “the dumbest man on television” adding that he “made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”

Grisham seemed to explain the first lady’s opposing stance by pointing to her anti-bullying initiative called Be Best.

“As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative,” she wrote in an email to HuffPost.

Although the initiative appears off to a slow start, the first lady at a May launch event that she aimed to “shine a spotlight on the people, organizations and programs across the country that are helping children overcome the many issues they are facing as they grow up.” 

That would describe James pretty nicely. As a project of the basketball star’s philanthropic foundation and Akron Public Schools, the new I Promise School is unusual in many respects, with a focus on social-emotional learning and building a sense of community. Each student receives free breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks, along with a bike for fun. Other perks include a hands-on media lab that mimics a television studio, where kids can broadcast school updates, Cleveland.com reported.

“[The first lady’s] platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron,” Grisham’s statement concluded.

President Trump earned consternation from veteran journalist Dan Rather and scores of others on social media for his incendiary comments about the CNN interview. 

While Lemon responded directly, criticizing the president, James did not reference President Trump at all in a Saturday morning tweet that instead focused on encouraging I Promise students.

CONVERSATIONS