Donald Trump has replied to a tweet accusing him of stoking racism by reiterating his campaign slogan: "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
The US President was replying to a tweet sharing a Washington Post article accusing him of attacking prominent African Americans "to feed his supporters' belief that the system is rigged for minorities."
"Trump's rage-tweets about LaVar Ball are part of a pattern," Greg Sargent, the author of the opinion piece tweeted.
The US President's reply represents a departure from his typical Twitter activity, where he rarely engages with people tweeting criticism of him.
Ten minutes later, he sent another "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" tweet, this time as a post to all his followers rather than a reply.
Mr Trump had taunted Mr Ball, the father of a US basketball player detained for shoplifting in China, calling him an "ungrateful fool."
In a series of tweets, the President complained Mr Ball, father of LiAngelo Ball, hadn't given him credit for the release of his son and two other UCLA basketball players.
"It wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME," Mr Trump tweeted.
"Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair," he said, referencing the flamboyant boxing promoter whom Mr Trump once saluted as "a phenomenal person" despite a conviction for manslaughter.
He also warned that Mr Ball "could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you" had it not been for his intervention.
"But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It's a really big deal, especially in China," he added.
The Washington Post article Mr Trump was responding to argues: "It’s hard to avoid noticing a gratuitously ugly pattern in Trump’s responses, in which Trump vaguely suggests either that his targets are getting above their station, or that they’re asking for too much and are insufficiently thankful for all that has been done for them."
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