President Donald Trump attacked Ohio’s favorite son, LeBron James, on Friday night, questioning his intelligence just a day before he’s set to hold a rally in the state.
The tweet came in response to an interview James conducted with CNN host Don Lemon, a frequent punching bag for the president. James spoke to Lemon from the public, non-charter school he opened for at-risk kids in Akron, called the I Promise school. Every student receives free tuition, as well as free food, uniform and even a free bike.
Trump was unswayed by James’ charity, saying it was hard to make “LeBron look smart.”
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
Of course, the president also got a final dig in at James, saying “I like Mike,” a reference to all-time great Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan.
The interview with Lemon only made direct mention of Trump at the end of the hour-long interview. Lemon asked James if he had any aspirations of running for office. He responded, “I don’t think so,” until Lemon brought up Trump as a possible opponent.
“If someone tried to recruit a LeBron to run for president, they said, ‘Listen, they’ve got no one, if you don’t run, Trump’s going to win,’ would you run?” Lemon asked.
“Well, in that case, I may,” James said.
At the end of the interview, Lemon asked if James, “What would you say to the president if he were sitting right here?”
The future NBA Hall of Famer responded, “I would never sit across from him.” He followed that up to say he would sit across from Barack Obama.
James has been outspoken in his dislike for Trump in the past. He unleashed a tweet following the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August saying, “Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!”
Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 15, 2017
He also called him a “so-called president” in the wake of the Charlottesville violence.
James also said he wouldn’t attend a ceremony at the White House if his team had won the NBA Finals. (In the end, the Golden State Warriors won, and they won’t be attending either.)
The basketball player appeared at a rally for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign in his home state of Ohio, a critical swing state during the election that Trump ended up carrying.
That campaign appearance probably turned the tide, as Trump didn’t always feel so strongly against James. In 2013, he congratulated James on winning Athlete of the Year at the ESPYs and “a great guy.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2013
James opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this offseason and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trump, meanwhile, is headed to Ohio, as he is set to hold a “Make America Great Again” rally in Lewis Center, just north of Columbus, on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.