Friday, March 02, 2018
President Donald Trump wasn't entirely truthful about saving three UCLA basketball players stranded in China for shoplifting, according to a new ESPN report. Twelve hours after being arrested for stealing sunglasses and beaded bracelets at Louis Vuitton and two other stores in Hangzhou, China, UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were released on bail with their passports withheld after returning the items, according to ESPN's Arash Markazi. They were free to do as they please in the city as the situation was being resolved by UCLA And Pac-12 officials, with help from Alibaba chairman Tsai and the Federation University Sports China.
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, as the three players prepared to make their first public statements since the incident became global news, Trump, as he is wont to do, took to Twitter to make it about Trump:
According to Trump, who was on an Asian tour at the time, he didn't contact Chinese president Xi Jinping about the players until Sunday, Nov. 12, after the situation had reportedly been resolved.
So, when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called UCLA officials that day to tell them Trump was "very optimistic that this would be taken care of in short order," the players already knew their fate.
"The situation was already resolved by the time we heard about Trump's involvement," a source told ESPN. "That's not to take away from the fact that he got involved, but the players already had their passports back and their flights booked to go home Tuesday night when Gen. Kelly called the players."
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