President Donald Trump on Thursday morning accepted the appreciation of three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China, offering some fatherly advice while also thanking his Chinese counterpart.
“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” he said in a series of tweets.
Trump earlier had sought the gratitude of the three basketball players — Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill — who were arrested last week on suspicion of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while their team was in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. The President had said he personally asked Xi to intervene in the case.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted Wednesday.
The players returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday. At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, they apologized for shoplifting during the trip to China. Each praised the Chinese government and Trump.
“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. Thank you for helping us out,” Riley said.
School officials said Chinese authorities withdrew the charges after the players admitted guilt. UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford announced that all three had been suspended indefinitely.