Kamala Harris Says Jussie Smollett Developments Are Disappointing


Several Democratic presidential candidates spoke up when the actor Jussie Smollett described a hateful attack based mostly on his race and sexual orientation in January.

Not as many have spoken up for the reason that police mentioned the assault had been staged.

Mr. Smollett surrendered to face a felony charge of submitting a false police report on Thursday, after the police in Chicago mentioned he employed two brothers for the assault. Mr. Smollett denies the accusation, and his authorized staff mentioned Thursday that he “feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

[Latest replace — For Jussie Smollett, how a life of arts and activism is upended.]

At first, a number of Democratic presidential candidates expressed help for Mr. Smollett, who stars on the present “Empire.” Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker each known as the reported assault a “modern day lynching,” feedback that Republicans are actually criticizing them for.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ms. Harris mentioned she was “sad, frustrated and disappointed” by the experiences about Mr. Smollett. But different candidates haven’t publicly revisited their preliminary views of the case.

President Trump, who initially informed reporters the alleged assault was “horrible,” criticized Mr. Smollett on Twitter on Thursday for what he known as “racist and dangerous comments.”

Here are the responses — and lack thereof — of Democratic presidential contenders on social media. Several candidates haven’t mentioned something.

Two candidates who made statements in January supplied new ideas on Thursday: Ms. Harris and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

On Jan. 29, Ms. Harris known as Mr. Smollett “one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know.”

But in her Facebook post on Thursday, she mentioned a false declare to the police “not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward.” She then pivoted to a dialogue of hate crimes, citing F.B.I. statistics exhibiting a 17 p.c enhance final 12 months.

“Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from that truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address,” she mentioned.

On Jan. 29, Ms. Gabbard known as the described assault “heartbreaking.”

On Thursday, she mentioned in a sequence of tweets that, if responsible, Mr. Smollett “needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law to send a strong message to any potential future ‘hoaxers.’”

Mr. Booker, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joseph R. Biden Jr. — who’s considered contemplating a presidential run however has not introduced one — spoke up on Jan. 29 however haven’t put out new statements.

Mr. Booker used the alleged assault to advertise an anti-lynching invoice. He said this week he would withhold additional remark “until all of the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources”; a spokesman didn’t instantly reply to a message on Thursday.

Mr. Castro, the previous housing secretary and mayor of San Antonio, was the one candidate to hedge his assertion on Jan. 29, prefacing it with “If the reports of Jussie Smollett’s attack last night are true.”

But later within the day he tweeted extra definitively about Mr. Smollett. “In 2019, he was violently attacked because of his race and sexual orientation,” he wrote. A spokeswoman mentioned Thursday that Mr. Castro had no new remark.

Initially, Ms. Gillibrand, a New York senator, known as the reported assault “a sickening and outrageous attack” and mentioned she was “praying for Jussie and his family.” She told CNN this week she would “wait to find out the facts before I make another statement”; a spokeswoman didn’t instantly reply to a message on Thursday.

Mr. Biden, the previous vice chairman, mentioned “we are with you, Jussie” after the reported assault. A spokesman didn’t instantly reply to a message on Thursday.



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