‘So-called president’: NBA star LeBron James hits out at Trump over Charlottesville violence
Cleveland Cavaliers star James, also known for his political activism, on Tuesday stepped up his own attacks on Trump, who has been criticized for his response to the recent violence in Charlottesville.
James tweeted that “hate has always existed in America,” and accused Trump of making it “fashionable again.”
Later in the day he renewed his attack at an event for the LeBron James Family Foundation.
“I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville,” James said, AP reported.
“I just want to speak on it right now. I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command and the only way for us to get better as a society and for us to get better as people is love.
“And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something as one. It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case.”
The three-time NBA champion had also tweeted a thinly-veiled swipe Trump amid the clashes at the weekend.
Other US sports stars, including NFL players Chris and Kyle Long, who are from Charlottesville, as well as Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, have also criticized the violence.
Bennett protested at a pre-season game on Sunday by deciding to sit during the national anthem.
“The last week, with everything that’s been going on in the last couple months – especially after the last couple days seeing everything in Virginia... I just wanted to be able to continue to use my platform to be able to speak on injustice,” he said when explaining the step.
An anti-fascist protester was killed on Saturday and more than a dozen others injured in an alleged car attack by a white nationalist in Charlottesville.
Violence flared in the US city after white supremacists joined protests against the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee. There were also counter-protests from anti-fascist groups.
US President Trump was criticized over the weekend for his perceived reluctance to condemn the far-right elements involved.
He did take that step in a speech at the White House on Monday, in which he spoke out against racism and hate groups, specifically referencing the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
However, on Tuesday Trump again asserted that there were “two sides to a story” regarding the violence, saying: “What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?”