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Even a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump praised James's charity work and mentioned "responsible online behavior" in a statement some imagined was a subtle rebuke to her husband. Sports stars rally Elsewhere, Trump's former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton backed James as a "great family man" and "incredible ballplayer" who "gives back to his community, and isn't afraid to speak his mind".

Mr Trump has taken a harsh stance on the ongoing debate over players in the National Football League (NFL) who refuse to stand for the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

FLOTUS isn't the only one to throw support behind James. Jordan issued a statement through his spokesperson to The Associated Press on Saturday that said: "I support LeBron James".

James, who just opened a state-of-the-art, tuition-free school in his home state of OH, has always been critical of Trump and his comments on race, which he repeated last week during an interview with CNN anchor Don Lemon. "He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do", Trump said. "I like Mike!" Trump tweeted.

From the opening of the I Promise school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to this new series, LeBron will obviously never just "shut up and dribble". "He's doing an wonderful job for his community". I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me.

Donald Trump had to pay $25 million for ripping off university students.

'LeBron puts children through school.

Trump puts them in cages.

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Others chose to point out Trump seemed to have little issue with white athletes, and had also publicly slammed Stephen Curry, LaVar Ball, Colin Kaepernick, and Marshawn Lynch.

In a 10-minute take-down that came in response to Trump's tweet calling Lemon and National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James dumb, Lemon said the president's "nasty, hateful swipe" is just the latest example of "one of the oldest canards of America's racist past and present - that black people are of inferior intelligence".

Some also speculated Trump's attack came as LeBron had moved to California, which is not a swing state like OH, where he previously lived, unscathed by the President's wrath.

"Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: You're great players but no one voted for you", she continued.

- I care, why don't you? Lemon asked his viewers, eight minutes into his broadcast. There is often little momentum for action in Washington if a President is not on board - one reason why many people doubt the impact of countermeasures against Russia's efforts to taint United States democracy.

James is an outspoken critic of the president.

Melania is the second woman in the President's life to publicly distance herself from his opinions this week alone.

Because the president is, Lemon said. (So had Lemon, for that matter.) But Trump's response, in a tweet he sent shortly before midnight, went straight for the worst superlatives.