There he goes again.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, known for his put-downs and insults, is now tangling with former pro basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar, the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer, started the skirmish when he criticized Trump in a Washington Post essay. “Here’s where it went fatally wrong for Trump,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote Wednesday.
“During the GOP debate on Fox, when [moderator] Megyn Kelly famously queried him about his attitude toward women (whom he has called ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’ and ‘animals’) he hit back by threatening the questioner….Bad enough to alienate women in this way, but there’s even more insidious political crime here: attacking the First Amendment’s protection of a free press by menacing journalists.”
Abdul-Jabbar also noted that Trump allowed Univision reporter Jorge Ramos to be removed from a news conference when Ramos asked questions about immigration without being called on (Ramos was allowed back in a few minutes later.) Trump has also banned Des Moines Register reporters from his events because he was annoyed by the newspaper’s editorials that criticized him and urged him to withdraw from the presidential race.
Abdul-Jabbar added: “Attempting to bully the press to silence criticism of him is anti-American. He followed up this salvo on the First Amendment with a strike at the 14th Amendment, asserting that he’d like to deny those born in the country their citizenship. The biggest enemy to the principles of the Constitution right now is Trump.”
Trump fired back quickly. “Kareem,” he wrote on a printed copy of the Abdul-Jabbar essay that he sent to the former basketball star. “Now I know why the press always treated you so badly–they couldn’t stand you. The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!”
Abdul-Jabbar placed Trump’s response on Facebook and called it “the best, though inelegant, support for my claims.”
Abdul-Jabbar was a cultural ambassador for the United States when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Clinton is now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.