If there hadn’t already been enough drama and confusion over the Jussie Smollett case, Donald Trump weighed in through a Thursday morning tweet. He wrote said that the Department of Justice and FBI would “review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago” and called it an “embarrassment” to the country.
What might seem a relatively unimportant issue for presidential attention could potentially become a political tool in a 2020 presidential campaign.
Smollett’s case has been an odd saga. The Empire actor had claimed to have been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack during a frigid late Chicago night in January. Police eventually charged him with having staged the event as part of a campaign to increase his salary on the hit show.
Things took another strange twist when -prosecutors dropped all charges on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, state prosecutor Joe Magats, who was behind the decision, told CBS that he still thought Smollett was guilty.
Where politics enter is that the Chicago backdrop offers Trump and others a possibility to set one group Barack Obama Democrats against another. The city’s mayor, who is former Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel, called the decision to drop charges a “whitewash of justice,” as Yahoo reported.
On the other hand, Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney and former Michelle Obama chief of staff, reportedly had some involvement in trying to secure the actor’s release at the request of members of his family and also worked to have the case transferred to the FBI.
Trump has a documented history of attacking Obama in multiple ways, both directly and indirectly. Given that Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two people wearing MAGA hats, calling for an investigation could also play well with Trump’s base. Additionally, Trump’s tweets were a calculated and planned offensive weapon during the 2016 campaign.