SAN ANTONIO — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has criticized President Donald Trump for the past five years and was as forceful as ever when he denounced the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, joining a chorus of NBA players and coaches.
Before a game in Los Angeles against the Lakers, Coach Pop lambasted the outgoing president and his supporters, saying he was embarrassed by what he saw the previous day.
"Yesterday, I think the big picture for me was how it just laid bare the blatant, dangerous, debilitating racism that is our country's sin," Popovich said, drawing a contrast between the forceful response to Black Lives Matter demonstrators and the ease with which the crowd breached the Capitol building.
"The barriers were pulled and they just walked right in," Popovich said. "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."
The coach laid the blame for the lack of security at Trump's feet.
"He didn't want any preparation, he's incapable, he's incompetent," Popovich said. "I believe with all my heart that Trump enjoyed it."
He went on to torch Trump's allies in Congress, saying that they were even worse than Trump.
"Hawley's a joke," Pop said. "This entitled, elite, educated person is really smart, just like Ted Cruz is smart, but they throw fuel onto Trump's fire. They are worse than Trump because they're not sick, they're not deeply flawed. Mr. Trump is not a well man. These people are sane, but their self-interest, their greed, their lust for power outweighs their love of country or their sense of duty to the Constitution, or to public service."
Popovich added that he'd like to see Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office, but that he won't.
"He's been an obsequious man for four years. He's not going to do it," Popovich said.
"We can send a message to our children, to our citizens that what they saw yesterday wasn't really American -- although that was America," Popovich said. "It happened here, that's who we are, but we don't want to be that."
He said that Mike Pence could send that message "to a world that's laughing at us," and that if he doesn't, he hopes that Nancy Pelosi follows through with a late impeachment.
DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and other players agreed with Popovich's assessment that Black Lives Matter demonstrators would not have been treated the same way by authorities.
A few days later, Popovich was asked for his thoughts on what's shaping up to be a more bipartisan impeachment effort in the closing days of Trump's presidency.
"I don't know what you expect me to say, I'm not a congressman, I'm a basketball coach," he said before launching into one of the political speeches he's become known for in recent years. "As a citizen, what we all watched was horrific, and we all saw the lack of concern and incompetence from our president, which is really sad."
He called it hypocritical for Republicans to warn about the impeachment causing division, and said that it actually had the power to unite people from both sides of the aisle in opposition of Trump. One high-ranking congresswoman who has said she will vote to impeach Trump and blamed him for inviting and inciting the mob that rioted through the Capitol isn't a Democrat, but GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.
"There has never been a greater betrayal by the President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," Cheney said, earning genuine praise from Popovich.
"It really warms your heart," Popovich said earnestly. "Trumpism is a cult, she's a real Republican. I'm a Democrat. Her values are just as important as my values. That's what you talk out, that's where you compromise. Crazy nuts, whack jobs, conspiracy theorists have gotten us to this point.
"It would be laughable if it wasn't dangerous and sickening, when McCarthy and Meadows and Hawley and Cruz talk about, 'we shouldn't do any impeachment because that might be divisive.' It's hilarious the level of hypocrisy they would reach and the shame they would not feel. As I said before, they just think we're stupid. They are so full of themselves, so full of hubris that they actually think a sane person is going to buy that argument.
"The fact there's going to be an impeachment beginning tomorrow is the least that we can do. I don't have a lot of faith the 25th Amendment is going to be invoked. This impeachment will say a lot. If anything, it will bring people together rather than be divisive. It will bring people together who might have thought a different way and realize what Trump can really do and what he really is, so I'm all for it."