San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has never been shy when it comes to criticizing President Donald Trump and he continued Monday, calling Trump a “soulless coward.”
According to Dave Zirin of The Nation, Popovich called him Monday to vent after Trump attempted to defend his lack of public statements about the four United States soldiers who were killed in an ambush in Niger.
Speaking Monday at his press availability, Trump said: “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”
A former Obama White House official rejected Trump’s claim in a statement to Yahoo News’ Gabby Kaufman.
Popovich — who served in the Air Force — called Zirin sometime after seeing the remarks and told Zirin specifically: “I want to say something and please just let me talk and please make sure this is on the record.”
Here is what Popovich told Zirin in their ensuing conversation:
“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never-ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.”
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner – and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
Popovich also spoke during the Spurs’ media day in late September, addressing Trump’s controversial comments about NFL and NBA players.
“Our country’s an embarrassment in the world,” Popovich told reporters.
In previous remarks, Popovich called the president-elect’s campaign commentary “xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.” In January he said, “We’ve got to a point where you really can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” And in May he said, “There’s a dark cloud, a pall over the whole country,” since Trump’s election.