Trump Responds to Smollett's Arrest Over Alleged Staged Attack

President Donald Trump criticized Empire star Jussie Smollett Thursday for making “dangerous comments” after Chicago police accused Smollett of orchestrating an assault by attackers who allegedly said homophobic and racist slurs and referred to the president’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

[email protected] - what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA” Trump tweeted just after the the Chicago Police Department concluded a news conference where it outlined allegations against Smollett.

Police accused Smollett, who had turned himself in to authorities on Thursday, of staging an attack on himself after sending a homophobic and racist letter to himself, Politico reports. Authorities also said that any injuries that Smollett had were most likely self-inflicted.

The Empire actor had been charged Wednesday with a felony for filing a false police report. Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two men, one of which was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, in Chicago in the early hours of January 29th, and the attackers yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him. The actor also said the two masked men wrapped a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and shouted “MAGA country.”

But an investigation from the Chicago Police Department revealed that Smollett allegedly paid the two men to carry out the attack.

During the news conference Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed that Smollett faked the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary and had a desire to gain more attention.

“This announcement today recognizes that Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said at the news conference. “Why would anyone, especially an African-American use a noose...to further his public profile?”

“Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language,” Johnson added. “When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and trash Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process. And why? This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary.”

Appearing in a Chicago courtroom on Thursday afternoon for a bond hearing, Smollett was “visibly frustrated.” The judge set Smollett’s bond at $100,000, and ordered that he must surrender his passport, E! News reports.

Smollett, with security surrounding him, was swarmed by cameras as he left the court.

Prior to the recent allegations that Smollett orchestrated the attack, Trump had called the attack  “horrible.”

“I can tell you that it’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse,” Trump told reporters last month.