President Donald Trump is fighting back over the Jussie Smollett case because of that way liberals politicized it, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday in a Fox News interview.
Smollett, a gay, black actor who appears on Fox’s “Empire,” claimed he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 as he walked on the street near his apartment building in Chicago. Smollett said two white men shouted racial and homophobic slurs as they struck him and wrapped a rope around his neck, yelling, “This is MAGA country!”
Since then, Chicago police say their investigation found that the attack, which was condemned by politicians and activists as an indication of the violence plaguing America under Trump’s leadership, was faked. The initial attack prompted calls for anti-hate crime legislation from many Democratic presidential candidates. As noted by The Washington Post, most have pulled back on their support for Smollett.
Smollett was charged Wednesday with filing a false police report, which is a felony, and he was arrested Thursday.
Trump on Friday tweeted his reaction to the actor having trashed the image of Trump’s supporters.
“JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” the president tweeted.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2019
During her Friday interview, Sanders explained that Trump was responding to the attacks from the left that linked Trump, his policies and his supporters to what police say was a fake attack.
“There were so many people, including a lot of leadership from the Democrat Party — everybody from Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker and a number of others, mostly those that are running for president — that quickly came out and attacked the president, blamed the president,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the incident was much like the social media indictment of teenagers from a Kentucky school who were falsely accused of baiting a Native American man and deluged with attacks even after the truth came out that they had not instigated any confrontation.
“In fact, as we learn more it certainly seems like the only person to blame in this case is Smollett, and it’s another sad example of people so quick to want to attack and come after this president, much like you saw with the Covington kids and certainly with this case as well, and the president is pushing back,” she said.
Smollett was cut out of the last two episodes of “Empire” this season after he was criminally charged, and he faces the possibility of one to three years in prison if convicted, according to CNN.
“We live in a country where you are presumed innocent,” Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. said Thursday during Smollett’s court proceeding. “However, if these allegations are true, I find them utterly outrageous. Especially the violent, despicable use of a noose, which conjures such evil in our country.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson slammed the actor as well as the news media that gave his case so much attention.
“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said.