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NJ senator calls Donald Trump’s attack on LeBron James racist

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Delivers Financial Stability Report To Senate Committee

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he delivers the annual financial stability report to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mnuchin said the Treasury can extend the government’s debt limit suspension period into February before it exhausts its borrowing ability. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez says President Donald Trump’s attack on NBA star LeBron James is part of a larger pattern of racist behavior.

Menendez wrote in a tweet Monday that Trump wouldn’t have questioned James’ intelligence or charity work if he were white. Trump criticized James on Friday after an interview aired with CNN anchor Don Lemon in which he deemed Trump divisive.

Menendez tweeted out a thread that included references to Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants during his campaign kickoff speech for the Republican presidential nomination and the president’s repeated claim that California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who is black, is “low IQ.”

Menendez has been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The two-term senator is in a tough re-election battle against Republican Bob Hugin.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.