Trump was on a two-day state visit to Beijing, part of a five-nation tour of in Asia, three days after UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store.
Three UCLA basketball players who remain in China after their teammates headed home amid news reports the trio was arrested for shoplifting have someone new intervening on their behalf: President Donald Trump. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in an email that Trump spoke to Xi regarding the matter. Xi said he wanted to be sure that the three UCLA players are to be treated fairly and expeditiously, as said by a US official who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the situation. The president's chief of staff John Kelly has also been in contact with the players' families as well as the team's coach.
ESPN's Arash Markazi reported there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores, though the video itself has not yet been made public.
"It has provided a real distraction and unwanted publicity, which distracts from what overall has been a tremendous experience and a tremendous week for the UCLA and Georgia Tech students", Scott said before the game.
Ball, Riley and Hill are now confided to their Hangzhou hotel and reportedly may have to wait up to two weeks until they are able to return home.
Ball, the second son of outspoken and high-profile sports dad, LaVar Ball, is set to begin his freshman season at UCLA.