President Trump put on his coach's hat Thursday and offered some words of advice to the three UCLA basketball players he helped free from China, while also saying “you’re welcome” after they thanked him a day earlier.
“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!” Trump tweeted early Thursday. “Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”
Trump’s tweet comes after the three college athletes held a press conference on Wednesday, where they thanked the president and the U.S. government. The three players had been arrested after being accused of stealing designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, but Trump helped get them back to the U.S.
“I would like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they’ve provided as well,” LiAngelo Ball said on Wednesday.
“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf,” another player, Cody Riley said. “We really appreciate you helping us out.”
“Thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home,” the third player, Jalen Hill, said.
But prior to their Wednesday afternoon press conference, Trump had questioned where their gratitude was.
“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” the president tweeted.
During his visit to Bejing last week, Fox News confirmed that Trump personally asked Xi to help resolve the case.
The three players arrived at Los Angeles International Airport late Tuesday afternoon, while the rest of their team returned to the U.S. on Saturday.
The team was playing their season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday, and won the game 63-60.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.