On Tuesday, Trump spoke to the National Republican Congressional Committee and referenced the Empire actor, according to USA Today. Smollett came up after Trump tested “MAGA Country” as his potential 2020 campaign slogan. Smollett had alleged that the men who attacked him in Chicago yelled “This is MAGA country” before the altercation occurred.
“How about the guy from Chicago? The actor that nobody ever heard of,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Who the hell is that?'”
“[Smollett] said he got taken out by ‘MAGA country.’ I said, ‘What the hell was that?’ I guess that’s a hate crime, right?” Trump continued.
Initially, Trump was sympathetic to the actor, saying that the altercation was “horrible” and that it “doesn’t get any worse.” As Smollett’s case became more complicated and he was accused of orchestrating the attack, Trump’s support changed.
“What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments?” Trump previously tweeted.
Prior to his comments to the National Republican Congressional Committee, Trump had tweeted that the FBI and Department of Justice were going to review Smollett’s case.
Smollett had been indicted with 16 counts of filing a false police report. On Tuesday morning, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dismissed the charges against Smollett. In exchange, the actor forfeited a $10,000 bond payment to the city.
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