The White House admitted Friday there were “lessons learned” by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their staffs after they rushed to condemn a faked hate crime orchestrated by actor Jussie Smollett during the 2020 presidential campaign.
“I think there are lessons learned perhaps for everybody who commented on the time,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said when asked to comment on Thursday’s guilty verdict on charges leveled against Smollett for staging the fake hate crime and lying to the police about it.
At the time, every Democrat running for president swiftly condemned the attack, after Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men wearing Donald Trump campaign hats who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him and poured bleach on him in downtown Detroit in January.
Biden wrote, “We are with you, Jussie,” on social media and said that “homophobia and racism have no place on our streets.”
Harris described the faked attack as a “modern day lynching” defending Smollett as “one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know.”
Psaki commented on the seriousness of faked hate crimes, noting that they distracted resources from helping real victims.
“I would say that we respect the jury’s decision. Lying to the police, particularly about something as heinous as a hate crime is shameful,” she said.
Psaki also noted that President Donald Trump also described the alleged attack as “horrible” when asked about the early alleged details by reporters on the afternoon after the attack took place.
Harris and Biden never condemned Smollett’s faked hate crime or walked back their statements of support.
Psaki said that despite Smollett’s faked attack, “accusations of hate crimes should be taken seriously,” even though they should also be “fully investigated.”