In the feud that everybody could see coming, President Donald Trump has responded to Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s response to Trump’s response to Kerr’s non-response on the NBA’s ongoing China controversy.
The president fired off a tweet late Friday night mocking the coach as “weak and pathetic,” saying he “chocked [sic]” in his response to a question about China and shutting down any offer of a White House visit that Kerr’s Warriors never signaled they would accept.
So funny to watch Steve Kerr grovel and pander when asked a simple question about China. He chocked, and looks weak and pathetic. Don’t want him at the White House!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019
The president has been eager to jump on any chance to deride NBA figures like Kerr or San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, both frequent critics of his administration, for a relatively timid response to the controversy generated by a pro-Hong Kong tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
The NBA, a league where basically every player and organization has seen an income boost thanks to the league’s popularity in China, was initially quick to criticize Morey’s tweet — which simply read "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." — as “deeply” offensive to the country’s fans.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized the NBA’s response as yielding to an authoritarian country on a human rights issue.
Among individual responses, Kerr’s was notable given that a normally outspoken coach basically gave only an extended “no comment.” The Warriors are one of the most — if not the single most — popular teams in China, and any pro-Hong Kong statement from the coach would have likely seen a response to similar to that of Morey’s tweet.
Trump has happily criticized NBA despite own reported promise to China
Trump attacked Kerr’s “no comment” about the Hong Kong protests and NBA response as “scared” and “like a little boy.” Meanwhile, Trump has been only laudatory of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the matter after reportedly promising Xi that his administration would remain silent on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
If President Xi would meet directly and personally with the protesters, there would be a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem. I have no doubt! https://t.co/eFxMjgsG1K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
An unfazed Kerr said Thursday that he was only a “shiny object” for Trump to chase.
“There’s another one today, there’ll be a new one tomorrow. The circus will go on,” Kerr said.
Undeterred, Trump still chose to needle Kerr again on Friday. It’s yet another battle Trump has chosen to fight as he also deals with the ongoing House impeachment inquiry over his involvement into a Ukrainian investigation of the son of Joe Biden and his widely criticized decision to pull U.S. forces from northern Syria at the request of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leaving Kurdish allies — and one U.S. military outpost — exposed to attacks from Turkish forces.
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