Thousands call for LeBron James to replace Betsy DeVos after Trump tweet

LeBron James habla en la inauguración de su escuela el 30 de julio en Akron, Ohio.
LeBron James habla en la inauguración de su escuela el 30 de julio en Akron, Ohio. AP

More than 18,000 petitioners across the country are calling for LeBron James to replace education secretary Betsy DeVos.

The online petition began to circulate Thursday afternoon, about a week after President Donald Trump took a jab at James on Twitter.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” the president wrote.

The former Miami Heat star had announced the opening of his new school, I Promise School late last month, in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. His public announcement was the first time James had spoken publicly since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the Associated Press.

LeBron James opened his new I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, which holds 240 at-risk students. The school is an extension of the LeBron James Family Foundation.

According to CBS, the school will soon welcome 240 at-risk third- and fourth-grade students; next year curriculum for the first and second grades will be added.

The petition, which collected 18,496 signatures since Thursday evening, was started by a person identified only as “Rebecca G.”

“The first candidate is famed athlete LeBron James, a highly respected and extremely influential community advocate and activist who recently opened a state-of-the-art public school for at-risk children in Akron, Ohio,” said the author. “The second candidate is Betsy DeVos, a scandal-ridden Republican donor who shows an inexcusable dislike for public education, wants to gut protections for women and minorities, and has advocated for teachers to be armed in schools.”

How likely is it to happen? The U.S. Secretary of Education is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. DeVos was Trump’s choice.

President Trump with his secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, at the White House. Jabin Botsford The Washington Post

““The most important thing we can give them is structure. They just want to feel like we care,” James said at the opening of his new school, according to the Los Angeles Times. “They have the dreams, they have the aspirations. They just want to know someone cares.”

Although James didn’t respond to Trump’s tweets last week, other professional athletes did.

“At a time where he’s putting on display his school, which is changing lives, there’s no need [to respond],” said Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, according to Fox. “Because you’re just giving attention to that tweet; that’s what they want.”