Trump Accuses LeBron James of ‘Racist Rants’ After Ohio Shooting Tweet

Donald Trump and LeBron James (Credit: Deposit Photos and CNN)

Former President Donald Trump is back in the news, after criticizing NBA star LeBron James for a since-deleted tweet about the Ohio cop who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.

“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television RATINGS, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the League,” Trump said in a statement released by his office Thursday.

Ironically, Trump went on to accuse James of dividing the country: “His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”

Related Story: LeBron James Deletes Tweet About Police Killing of Ma’Khia Bryant

Trump’s comments came after the Los Angeles Lakers star posted a tweet on Wednesday that showed a photo of the Columbus police officer accused of fatally shooting Ma’Khia Bryant. Police identified the officer as Nicholas Reardon, who joined the force in 2019.

James wrote in his tweet: “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” along with a picture of the officer.

After facing backlash on social media, James deleted his original tweet and wrote two follow-up posts explaining why he decided to initially share his thoughts on the shooting.

The Ohio native and vocal activist posted, “ANGER does [not do] any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened to that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!”

Ma’Khia was fatally shot on Tuesday after police responded to a call about an attempted stabbing at a home. The shooting occurred less than 30 minutes before a Minneapolis jury found ex-officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for killing George Floyd.

While Ma’Khia was Black, the circumstances in Columbus were different. Police responded to the scene after receiving a call that girls were fighting. Ma’Khia’s family said she placed the 911 call.

“We got these grown girls over here trying to fight us. Trying to stab us. Trying to put their hands on our grandma,” the caller told a 911 dispatcher. “Get here now!”

Reardon and two other officers responded to the scene.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Reardon could be heard asking on body-camera footage. Ma’Khia was seen charging at a 20-year-old woman with a kitchen knife and then moving on to a 22-year-old woman.

Reardon yelled, “Get down!” and fired four shots.

The teenager collapsed to the ground. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

People in the neighborhood came out of their homes and began yelling at the officers.

“You shot my (expletive) baby!” an unidentified man said. Reardon, who is White, responded, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

“You have no respect for life,” another person yelled. “No, actually, you have no respect for Black life.”

In the video footage, a knife can be seen on the ground after Bryant was shot. Reardon is now off street duty pending an investigation.

Ma’Khia’s mother Paula Bryant said after the shooting, “Ma’Khia was a sweet little girl. She didn’t deserve what happened to her.”

At the time of the shooting, the teen was living in a foster home. Franklin County Children Services issued a statement saying Ma’Khia’s mother was “working very hard to get everything together.”

Meanwhile, Ma’Khia’s foster mom said the fight that led to the shooting started with an argument over a messy house.

“It was over keeping the house clean,” Angela Moore told CNN. “The older one told them to clean up the house because ‘Mom doesn’t like the house dirty,'” Moore said she was told after she arrived home from work. “So that’s how it all started.”

Moore said two of her former foster children had come to her home to celebrate her birthday when the fight broke out.