On Thursday, Jussie Smollett was found guilty of lying to police to stage a “hate crime” against himself in 2019.
A jury convicted the 39-year-old actor on five counts of disorderly conduct, one count for each time he was charged with lying to police in the days following the orchestrated attack. He was acquitted on one count of lying to a detective weeks after the incident, according to The Associated Press.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki commented on the guilty verdict by focusing on former President Donald Trump.
“I think there are lessons learned perhaps for everybody who commented at the time, including former President Trump,” Psaki said.
She then alluded to Trump’s comments on the “hate crime” hoax. “I can tell you that it’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse,” he said in February 2019, according to Politico.
Psaki also said the Biden administration respects the jury’s decision and that lying to police must be punished.
“False accusations divert valuable police resources away from important investigations, they make it harder for real victims to come forward and be believed,” Psaki said.
Following Jussie Smollett’s guilty verdict, WH Press Sec. Jen Psaki is asked about Biden & Harris’ 2019 tweets expressing sympathy for the actor before it was revealed as a hoax.
She says Smollett made it “harder for real victims to come forward” and notes Trump was also duped. pic.twitter.com/s6VCb4g3mB
— The Recount (@therecount) December 10, 2021
Now-President Joe Biden tweeted in support of Smollett at the time of the fake attack.
“What happened today to [Smollett] must never be tolerated in this country,” Biden said. “We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”
What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie. https://t.co/o8ilPu68CM
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 30, 2019
Now-Vice President Kamala Harris also voiced sympathy and support for Smollett.
“This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate,” she tweeted.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
Other high-profile politicians, including Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, tweeted similar comments about Smollett’s case.
The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe.
To those in Congress who don’t feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention. https://t.co/EwXFxl5f2m
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 29, 2019
“When one of the most famous black and gay men in America is not safe, the message is clearer than it has ever been.” The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 30, 2019