Jared Kushner accuses NBA players of ‘putting out slogans’ and accuses them of using the ‘luxury’ of striking over police violence – while Mike Pence’s chief of staff calls them ‘absurd and silly’ and says: ‘I don’t think we care’
- The president’s son-in-law took a dig at NBA players who called off scheduled games after the police shooting of Jacob Blake
- He told CNBC they were very fortunate to ‘have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work’
- Kenosha faced another night of protests over Blake, who was shot seven times and is paralyzed from the waist down
- The Milwaukee Bucks and other teams refused to play their scheduled playoff game in protest
- The NBA, WNBA, and MLB put off games amid the uproar
- Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: ‘I don’t think we care’
- He later said in another interview he would reach out to NBA star LeBron James
Donald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner took a dig Thursday at professional basketball players who cancelled their scheduled playoff game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Kushner, who like Trump expanded a real estate empire built by his father, pointed to the wealth amassed by top NBA players, while Mike Pence‘s chief of staff Marc Short dismissed the protest saying: ‘I don’t think we care.’
The prominent White House officials spoke after the National Basketball Association postponed games amid protests over the shooting. Blake was shot seven times in the back during an encounter with police – an event that prompted three nights of street protests and violent clashes.
‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ said Kushner, asked if the White House supports their position.
‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ Jared Kushner said when asked about the NBA walk-out in response to the killing of Jacob Blake
‘So they have that luxury, which is great,’ he told CNBC.
‘Look I think with the NBA there’s a lot of activism and I think that they put a lot of slogans out but I think that what we need to do is turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s going to solve the problem,’ he said.
Then Kushner went on to name four Trump administration policies: criminal justice reform, opportunity zones meant to steer investments into distressed communities, school choice, historically black colleges.
He didn’t specifically mention protesters’ complaints about police shootings of minorities. Kushner has been a key negotiator on criminal justice reform meant to reduce sentences for nonviolent offenders.
Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: ‘I don’t think we care’
Demonstrators march in the streets on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the city declared a state of emergency curfew, a fourth night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23
Milwaukee Bucks players walked out of their scheduled playoff game in protest Wednesday
Benches sit empty at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Aug 26, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Grounds crew work on the field as Black Lives Matter video plays on the scoreboard before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. at Oracle Park
Demonstrators protest the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A police officer shot Blake seven times in the back in front of his three children. The shooting sparked three consecutive days of rioting in the city
Former President Barack Obama commended the players and coaches including Doc Rivers
Kushner made the comment on CNBC as protests in Kenosha spread
‘People don’t like seeing what’s happening in a lot of these cities. President Trump has been very strong in saying we don’t want violence in these cities,’ Kushner said.
He spoke hours after the Milwaukee Bucks staged a walkout of their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Two other NBA matchups were also postponed, and the WNBA and Major League Baseball also postponed games.
Short conducted cable TV interviews hours after Pence warned at his Republican convention speech that ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.’
The convention rolled on amid a fourth night of protests in Kenosha, and the arrest of a suspect in the killing of two people who was immediately identified as having attended a Trump rally in Des Moines in January.
Short fielded repeated questions about why Pence didn’t speak out specifically agains the shooting of Blake, the latest police shooting to rock the nation.
‘He said specifically he wants to bring an end to the violence,’ said Pence.
Asked if the administration supports the protest, Short responded: ‘Look I don’t know that you’re going to see the administration weigh in on that tone way or the other. In my mind it’s absurd, it’s silly,’ he said.
Short spoke after the basketball protest proliferated into one of the most widespread in the history of U.S. sport.
Bucks players said in a statement released Wednesday: ‘Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.’
‘When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable.’ They continued: ‘We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.
‘We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,’ said the statement.
Speaking hours after his initial comments, Kushner softened his criticism and said he would reach out to NBA great LeBron James.
“I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,’ Kushner told Politico. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them,” he said.
Four time NBA Most Valuable Player James tweeted Wednesday: ‘F*** THIS MAN!!!!WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.’
The statements from the White House came hours after the Republican Convention was organized around a ‘law and order’ theme. A line of speakers pointed to unrest in the streets.
”There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder. People who can afford to flee have fled,’ said South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Michael McHale, who heads the National Association of Police Unions, called the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket ‘the most radical anti-police ticket in history.’
Pence unequivocally sided with law enforcement. ‘And under President Trump, we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line and we’re not going to defund the police, not now not ever,’ he said.