After distancing himself and the city from “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for acting out of “perceived self-interest” in a hate crime case, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called out those who were quick to jump to Smollet’s defense. However, CNN anchor Don Lemon turned the conversation to President Donald Trump.
Speaking with Don Lemon on CNN, Emanuel delivered a “cautionary note” to those who were quick to believe Smollett.
Smollett was arrested on Thursday for filing a fake police report after paying two brothers — who were apparent supporters of President Trump — $3,500 to stage an attack where a noose was placed around his neck and had bleach poured on him. The Chicago police claimed the actor did so because “he was dissatisfied with this salary.”
“I would just say one other cautionary note, Don,” Emanuel said. “I think the national media, I think national politicians, they need to take a step back.”
“They need to think about this moment. They need to think about other moments, and think about how we approach stories going forward because you and I know everybody rushed to judgment about the veracity of it. It didn’t add up to a lot of us that live in Chicago.”
Lemon seemed to disregard Emanuel’s advice of “learning before we rush to judgment, we should to take a pause, get the facts.” Emanuel added that it’s also on “national politicians” to do so, as well.
The CNN anchor responded by pointing out a tweet by the president that said, “What about the MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”
Lemon shifts the blame to Trump:
LEMON: “You talked about national politicians, he is the biggest national politician, the leader of the free world, really. The country is incredibly divided right now: we’re debating blackface scandals, protest by Black football players, Nazi’s marching in Charlottesville. Emotions are really raw right now. Was he taking advantage, Jussie Smollett, of the divides in our society? …”
Emanuel responded, saying, “There is not the same of moral equivalency,” with President Trump, however, he concluded that Smollett’s alleged hate crime “didn’t add up” with the people of Chicago.
Watch the video below:
"What [Smollett] said happened is not the character of our city or the people that make it up." – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tells CNN's @DonLemon. "Now, that said, we have our problems. We're going to work on solving them." https://t.co/4dEcFi4GR1 pic.twitter.com/K28MmTuRQs
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 22, 2019
During a CNN segment on Thursday, Lemon claimed Smollett has “lost the fight in the court of public opinion.”
“He lost because — not his fault. Maybe people were — I don’t know what they were saying to him, maybe because of his representatives. Who knows? But it was handled poorly,” he added.
Lemon noted during the opening monologue the Smollett controversy is “personal” because the two are acquaintances and had been in communication since the alleged hate crime.
“He even lied to a lot of people … including me. And that’s not cool,” Lemon said. “He squandered the good will of very high-profile people who one day may be running this country like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and people like President Trump.”
Watch the video below:
Is @donlemon really this stupid?
— Harlan Z. Hill (@Harlan) February 21, 2019
Following Smollett’s arrest on Thursday, he posted $10,000 of the $100,000 bond and surrendered his passport on charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. However, he could still face up to three years in prison.