President Trump helped free UCLA ‘knuckleheads’ basketball players from China

UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who had been detained in China for the past week on suspicion of shoplifting, landed in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening and boarded a van to return to campus.

Trump, who returned late Tuesday from a trip through Asia, said he raised their case with President Xi Jinping of China during a visit to Beijing last week.

“Our president said to Xi, ‘Do you know anything about these knuckleheads that got caught allegedly stealing?'” John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff, told The New York Times. “The president was saying, ‘It’s not too serious. We’d love to see this taken care of in an expeditious way.'”

President Donald Trump asked on Twitter whether the three UCLA basketball players released from detention in China on Tuesday will thank him for his help.

UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block, while saying he was “grateful” the players were headed home, issued a statement Tuesday saying the school will look into the matter and decide what action will be taken. Ball, Riley, Hill, UCLA coach Steve Alford and Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero will hold a news conference Wednesday.