Melania on LeBron’s Side is A Well Intentioned But Calculating Move

Living in a glass house means you shouldn’t throw stones is a particularly relevant idiom when Donald Trump begins to disparage professional athletes, considering his level of intellectual and emotional subnormality. But he continues it because it helps his base stay attached to his coattails and with the mid-term elections possibly swaying the complexion of Congress, and perhaps engendering a Trump impeachment, he has to swing at all pitches, even if it is out the strike zone. Implying that LeBron James is stupid and that Trump favors Michael Jordan more does exactly that, keeps his base in a Trump happy froth.

The Trump base, for the most part, are working class whites who resent people of color for existing, much less prospering. Their anxiety has been established by research from Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. Case and Deaton’s landmark work on the mortality rates of working class whites far exceeding every population group- women, African Americans, Latinos, Asians- is the foundation for the Trump rhetoric and the Make America Great Again nostalgic slogan. The only population group America is not great for are working class whites who are pushed to the brink because of globalization and a highly literate work force they are excluded from. They love Trump the xenophobe. When he is slandering an African American man, it makes them self involved ecstatic.

Trump is campaigning in Ohio so LeBron James was an easy target for Trump’s ridicule.

Except, LeBron James is adored in Ohio. He brought the state their first NBA championship. He has partnered with the Akron school district to open up a public school. Not a private school. Not a charter school. A public school. He has created an opportunity for at risk children to learn, thrive and if they graduate, admission to the University of Akron.

While everyone who has a pulse and a little bit of humanity was excoriating Trump for his comments on Twitter about James, a surprise supporter had her say. Trump’s wife, Melania.

Not only did she support James, she expressed an interest in visiting I Promise school as part of her Be Best initiative.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation. And just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children.” (Stephanie Grisham, spokesperson for Melania Trump)

Melania Trump, through her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, steered the conversation away from intelligence and towards education and children but CNN host Don Lemon wasn’t that neutral. He blasted Trump with:

“Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classroom or one who puts kids in cages?” (Don Lemon)

LeBron’s I Promise school is a dream come true for the once upon a time poverty soaked James who admitted missing more than 80 days of 4th grade because he couldn’t get to school. I Promise is for the student who failed third grade and for the student in financial high risk. The school calendar is longer than a traditional public school with LeBron’s I Promise foundation kicking in resources most public schools in inner city communities cannot afford. The school has a food pantry for struggling families and offers GED help for parents who need to receive their high school degree. Students also receive a new bike. More importantly, resources focused on emotional health won’t be bartered out as is often the case in public schools. LeBron understands you cannot learn if you are stressed, anxious, worried and hungry. In its infancy, I Promise is a grand achievement for the city of Akron and for James.

Melania Trump has identified a platform of anti-bullying as her primary cause. But her interjection into bullying activities is often specious. She rarely speaks out against how her husband bullies, disrespects, belittles and demeans his fellow citizens, many of whom are in his employ, many of whom are women and people of color. She was particularly tone deaf about the children at the border crises, lacking the requisite amount of empathy from someone who is an immigrant herself, and a mother of a child. She was oddly cold in her first trip to visit the detention centers that are housing women and children.

Applauding LeBron and disagreeing with her husband alters her carefully crafted image. It gives her cover and furthers an identity she wants out in the world. She is married to Donald Trump. She is not Donald Trump. She cares about children.

Whether Melania Trump visits I Promise school or not, she has begun her Donald separation by aligning herself with a person who once called Donald Trump a bum.

LeBron James.