San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, long one of the sports world’s most outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, unleashed a blistering tirade against Trump on Thursday, one day after the president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Speaking with reporters ahead of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Popovich spoke at length about the deadly riot in D.C. He fully blamed Trump for fueling the vitriol that led to the attack and called for his removal from office.
Popovich also criticized Vice President Mike Pence and Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Lindsey Graham for enabling Trump throughout his four years in office. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press posted a transcript of the meat of Popovich’s answer:
Gregg Popovich spoke tonight. A transcript of his main answer: pic.twitter.com/KGLLZR3ZVP
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) January 8, 2021
“He’s incapable. He’s incompetent,” Popovich said about Trump. “He’s incapable of caring. And it’s sad because he’s a deranged, really flawed individual, but he’s also dangerous. That’s why I don’t think it’s so farfetched for people to start talking about the 25th Amendment.”
Popovich even speculated that Trump enjoyed watching the riot, and questioned the lack of preparedness of Capitol police.
“I believe with all my heart that Trump enjoyed it,” Popovich said. “And they talked about the police and how easy it was and the barriers were pulled and they just walked right in. That doesn’t happen unless there’s a wink and a nod somewhere. That just doesn’t happen. It’s never happened at any protest anybody’s ever been to.”
Popovich’s speculation is backed up by Kaitlan Collins of CNN, who tweeted that White House officials were shaken by Trump’s “borderline enthusiastic” reaction to watching his supporters storm the Capitol.
During the attack, Trump tweeted requests for his supporters to remain peaceful but also reasserted the belief the election was stolen from him. Near the end of the attack, he released a video telling them to go home but also sympathizing with them and calling them “very special.”
The attack resulted in at least four people dead and dozens arrested, according to D.C. officials, as well as the resignation of Capitol police chief Steven Sund.
“I'm embarrassed to be an American and have people see what they saw yesterday,” said Popovich, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He later took part in a pregame demonstration with Spurs and Lakers players, linking arms during the national anthem:
The Lakers and Spurs are locking arms in a circle at halfcourt during the national anthem pic.twitter.com/fICtAd1NEb
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 8, 2021
Scenes from the riot sparked condemnation from across the NBA, both for the surreal nature of the Capitol being overtaken by violent insurgents and for the perceived double standard with how Black protesters are treated compared to the overwhelmingly white crowd in D.C.
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