By Brooke Singman
Published February 21, 2019
“@JussieSmollett- what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
The president’s tweet comes amid the latest developments in the Smollett controversy. The actor was arrested on Wednesday night after he was “officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation” for allegedly “filing a false police report” about the alleged incident on Jan. 29.
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had claimed he was attacked by two masked men early on Jan. 29 as he walked to his Chicago apartment from a Subway restaurant. Smollett claimed that the men shouted racist and anti-gay slurs at him, poured a chemical substance on him, threw a rope around his neck and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”
Chicago police arrested two brothers—Ola and Abel Osundario—in relation to the incident, but both were released without charges last week after questioning.
Police had said they were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and initially considered Smollett a victim, but that soon changed.
After the actor's arrest, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Thursday that Smollett orchestrated a "phony attack" in order to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
Meanwhile, Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh, and Victor P. Henderson, had vehemently denied that the attack was a hoax.
"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the lawyers said in a weekend statement. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
In a statement to Fox News on Wednesday, Smollett's attorneys said the actor "enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked."
Fox News' Matt Finn and Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.