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White House press secretary Jen Psaki was called on to answer for supportive comments made by the president and vice president in the wake of Jussie Smollett’s alleged hate crime.
Psaki was grilled during a Friday press briefing about initial tweets that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris posted in support of the former “Empire” actor who claimed he was attacked in January 2019 by two men who were wearing pro-Trump hats.
Biden had tweeted that Americans must “stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor,” clearly believing the story Smollett served up. Meanwhile, Harris, who was a California senator at the time, called the alleged incident a “modern day lynching,” and described Smollett as “one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know.”
Now that Smollett was found guilty this week on five of six charges relating to felony disorderly conduct, Psaki was confronted by reporters. But, not surprisingly, she deflected on the direct questions related to Biden and Harris, and found a way to inject former President Donald Trump into the mix.
“I would say that we respect the jury’s decision,” Psaki said Friday. “Lying to the police, particularly about something as heinous as a hate crime, is shameful.”
“There are lessons learned, perhaps, for everyone who commented at the time,” she told reporters. “Including former President Trump.”
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