Trump calls Jussie Smollett a 'third-rate actor' and says his case was a 'disgrace to our nation'

  • President Donald Trump on Saturday called the “Empire” star Jussie Smollett a “third-rate actor,” and said his case was “a disgrace to our nation.”
  • Smollett was accused of staging a hate crime against himself, but prosecutors later dropped the charges.
  • He had alleged that his assailants shouted “This is MAGA country” while they attacked him.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump lashed out at the “Empire” star Jussie Smollett at a rally on Saturday, calling him a “third-rate actor” and excoriating him for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself.

“We may have the greatest theme in the history of politics: It’s called Make America Great Again. MAGA. It’s called MAGA country,” Trump told his supporters in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “You know, I didn’t hear that term until that third-rate actor in Chicago went out and he said, ‘I was beaten up by MAGA Country.’ Can you believe that?”

Smollett was accused in March of faking an assault at the hands of purported Trump supporters. Smollett had said two men attacked him while shouting, “This is MAGA country.”

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony charges, but Cook County prosecutors later dropped the case while maintaining that they still believed he had lied about the attack.

Read more: How ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett went from victim, to suspect, to cleared of all charges after reporting a hate crime

Text messages later surfaced showing that Kim Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney, had fretted over whether her office was overcharging Smollett, particularly compared to the charges she laid against the R&B star R. Kelly, who is accused of sexual abuse.

“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts,” Foxx said in one text referring to Kelly, The New York Times reported. “Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16. On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally.”

Trump seized on the issue during his rally Saturday evening, lamenting the fact that prosecutors dropped the charges.

“Now, that’s a hate crime, right? He said he was beaten up by MAGA country. Turned out to be a total lie, but think of it. MAGA. Make America Great Again,” he said. “And by the way, I have to tell you that case in Chicago was a disgrace to our nation. A disgrace.”

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