President Trump weighed in on the case of actor Jussie Smollett Thursday after Chicago police alleged Smollett staged a hate crime attack on himself.
Smollett had filed a police report claiming two men attacked him, dousing him with a chemical and putting a noose around his neck while they yelled, “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan. But that story soon fell apart, and Smollett has been arrested and indicted on charges related to the filing of the allegedly misleading report claiming he was the victim of a hate crime. Smollett has been charged with making a false report, a felony in Illinois. Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson claimed Smollett paid $3,500 to stage the attack “because he was dissatisfied with his salary.”
Mr. Trump weighed in on Twitter Thursday morning after Smollett’s arrest.
When the alleged attack was initially reported and a reporter asked the president to respond to it, he said,”That I can tell you is horrible. I’ve seen it. Doesn’t get worse.”
Johnson, the Chicago police chief, had strong words for Smollett in a televised news conference Thursday morning.
“‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said in the news conference. “Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?”