Trump made headlines in late 2017 when he decided to pick a fight with professional athletes from the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. Now it appears his war on sports may be about to cross the Atlantic, only this time, he’s starting the war on defense.
That’s because Spanish international soccer star Héctor Bellerín attacked the president on Twitter before he even knew what hit him.
Bellerín plays his club ball for Arsenal, then London mega-club famous both for its expensive stars on the field, and its celebrity fans in the seats. One of those celebrity fans is former CNN primetime host Piers Morgan, who plies his trade these days on the “Good Morning Britain” program for the U.K.’s ITV network.
Piers scored an interview with Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Thursday, where he presented the president with an Arsenal jersey emblazoned with the number ’45’ on the back.
But he didn’t stop there. He took it upon himself to offer Trump the manager’s job for his beloved but somewhat struggling gunners, the equivalent of American football’s head coaching gig.
Morgan tweeted a photo of him presenting the jersey to Trump, with this caption:
“*WORLD EXCLUSIVE* The moment I invite President Trump to be Arsenal’s new manager – because he’d build a strong defensive wall, have an attacking philosophy & want to win big trophies at all costs. See his hilarious response on Sunday night, ITV, 10pm.”
Bellerin saw Morgan’s tweet, and wasted no time to responding. With just four words and an emoji, he humiliated both the smug British TV host and Trump in ways few expert political pundits could ever dream to:
President Trump just can’t seem to avoid offending professional athletes. Last year, he calculated that it would be politically beneficial to take on NFL players who were kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, and he was right.
Like sheep responding to the shepherd’s commands, his base fell into ranks behind him and parroted his assault on the handful of mostly Black athletes of the NFL who chose to use the platform provided by the pregame playing of the national anthem to raise awareness to police brutality against people of color.
Later, after President Trump’s refusal to condemn the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, the national anthem displays evolved into a massive act of defiance of the president across the entire league. Many owners even joined the players on the field in a courageous show of solidarity.
It’s unclear yet what act of retaliation, if any, Trump will take against Héctor Bellerín, or against the English Premier League, to which Arsenal belongs. He’s never been one to let a well publicized slight on Twitter go unanswered, even from figures most president’s simply ignore.
Then again, he’s already embroiled in a feud with the British government, the Royal Family, and residents around his golf course in Scotland, so maybe he’ll realize he’s already made enough enemies in the U.K.
Don’t hold your breath.