I sent this to President Trump last week in response to this tweet.
Dear President Trump,
I am deeply disappointed in your tweet saying that you should have left the basketball players in jail in China. As the President of these United States, it is your job to represent and serve all of the people, whether they are grateful to you for your help or not. Your childish outbursts on Twitter are an embarrassment and serve as a needless distraction from your agenda by taking up precious time that should instead be used to advance a conservative legislative agenda.
You are correct that people should be thankful when things are done for them. LaVar Ball’s response to your intervention on his son’s behalf was very ungrateful. It showed a lack of class, and Ball did deserve to be publicly rebuked for what he said. That would be a necessary lesson, especially just before Thanksgiving, of how every important it is for us to be thankful. It is responsible and respectful to be thankful, and it also is a great benefit to the person who is thankful. Someone who is legitimately thankful will have a better outlook on life and will be healthier and happier.
However, it is not your place as President to say this. Imagine the following scenario: You get the younger Ball out of jail, which is an extraordinary action for a President. His father dismisses your high-level intervention for him and disrespects the office of the President. Your surrogates in the Republican Party and conservative commenters blast LaVar Ball, and then the media asks you about it. Your response: “Well, I am obviously disappointed in Mr. Ball’s words, but my job as President is to try to help all of our citizens regardless of what they or their parents think of me. I am overjoyed I could help these young men.”
Suddenly, you look like the adult in the room and LaVar Ball looks like a complete tool.
I understand your instinct to “punch back” when you are attacked, and this is something I generally like. Many of us were unhappy that President Bush never pushed back against the attacks on him, and this is an epidemic among Republicans. One of the reasons for your success is that you are not willing to sit there and take it, but will instead fight back. But there is a way to fight back that is dignified and presidential, and there is a way to fight back that is petulant and childish. You seem to always choose the latter, and that is sad.
Sincerely, Scott Tibbs