- President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed Jussie Smollett after the Chicago police arrested the actor and accused him of staging a hate crime.
- “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA,” Trump said on Twitter.
- Smollett has said he was a victim of a hate crime in Chicago in late January, but evidence has emerged contradicting his narrative.
- Trump seemed to believe Smollett early on, in late January describing the incident as “horrible.”
President Donald Trump on Thursday weighed in on the new, incendiary allegations in the Jussie Smollett case, accusing the actor of insulting millions with “racist and dangerous comments.”
“@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA,” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump’s tweet came after the Chicago police arrested Smollett, 36, and charged him with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.
Smollett has maintained he was the victim of a violent hate crime in Chicago in late January, but after investigating the incident the police now believe the actor staged the incident and paid two men to attack him.
The actor, who is gay and black, claimed the two men who attacked him shouted racist and homophobic slurs. Smollett also said one of the attackers yelled “This is MAGA country” as he fled the scene, a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Smollett is maintaining his innocence, but the Chicago police on Thursday vociferously criticised the actor over his narrative.
The Chicago Police Department’s superintendent, Eddie Johnson, said Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on the show “Empire,” in which the actor plays a gay musician.
Johnson seemed to be livid with Smollett, ripping into the actor during his comments Thursday.
“To stage a hate crime of that nature, when he knew as a celebrity it would get a lot of attention, is just despicable,” Johnson said.
“Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did, and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources that were put into this,” Johnson added.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says Jussie Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 21, 2019
Initially, many prominent Democratic politicians and celebrities took Smollett’s story at face value and lambasted some who were doubting the actor’s claims before the police publicly began doing so. But as evidence emerged contradicting Smollett’s claims, conservatives like Donald Trump Jr. seized upon the case as evidence of widespread bias in the media.
But the elder Trump was at first among those who condemned the apparent attack, describing it as “horrible” and stating it “doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned,” when questioned by reporters on the matter in late January.
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