“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 today.” Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement Saturday.
The statement’s tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trump‘s tweet Friday night following James’ appearance on CNN in which he told journalist Don Lemon that he “would never sit across” from Trump, whom James has criticized in the past. The interview took place at James’ “I Promise” school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump tweeted in a swipe at a news network he often derides. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”
While many former and current professional athletes jumped to James’ defence, Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman noted that the first lady’s Be Best initiative for children promoted “the importance of responsible online behaviour” as well as their well-being and healthy living.
“Her platform centres around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron,” Grisham said.
WATCH: LeBron James opens learning centre for youth in home town
Mrs. Trump has stood apart from her husband’s views before. In June, when migrant families entering the U.S. illegally were being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under Trump administration policies, she said through her spokeswoman that she “hated” to see the separations and that she believed the U.S. needed to be a country that “follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
WATCH: Lebron James on why he called President Trump a ‘bum’
Trump also appeared to weigh in on the growing debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all time, James or Michael Jordan, by writing “I like Mike!” in his tweet.
Jordan jumped to James’ defence on Saturday.
The NBA great issued a statement through his spokesperson to The Associated Press via text. It said: “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”