A jury convicted Smollett Thursday of five counts of disorderly conduct — for each separate time he was charged with lying to police in the days after the alleged attack that has been deemed a hate crime hoax.
On Friday, host Jesse Watters cataloged several prominent expressions of support for Smollett, many of which were made before the facts of the case emerged.
He pointed to CBS News morning anchor Gayle King, who said following the supposed attack that there are “a lot of questions in this case, but I know that Jussie Smollett is a really, really good guy.”
“I just want justice to be served in this case,” King said.
Those sentiments were later echoed by ABC News anchor Robin Roberts, who also conducted a widely-circulated interview with the “Empire” star following the allegation when she said his “detailed account” had not changed.
“Roseanne” star Sara Gilbert also said at the time that the media has “really cast so much doubt on his story, which I find so personally offensive.”
“This is America in 2019,” commented then-CNN host Brooke Baldwin.
Watters later said leading Democrats’ comments about Smollett were “even worse,” pointing to how then-candidate Joe Biden decried that “homophobia and racism have no place on our streets.”
Then-Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called the now-debunked attack a “modern-day lynching”, and similar claims were made by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Watters further criticized the White House after Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared to partially blame then-President Trump for commenting on the incident the time.
“There are lessons learned perhaps for everybody who commented at the time, including former President Trump,” Psaki said this week. “We respected the jury’s decision. Lying about something as heinous as a hate crime is shameful.”
“If you look back at the time, it is also true and important to note that accusations of hate crimes should be taken seriously and they need to be fully investigated, but that is where everybody was looking at it at the time,” she added.
Host Kayleigh McEnany, a former White House spokeswoman under Trump, commented on “The Five” that the “hardest take” was Psaki’s claim about the former president.
“They say the right is going to use this as an example of why not to trust the media, and then Jen Psaki says this is all Trump’s fault,” she said.
“Her boss is the ultimate race-baiter,” McEnany said of Biden – pointing out that the current president has repeatedly injected race into his politics.
She pointed to an infamous remark at a 2012 campaign event near Martinsville, Va., when he told a substantially Black audience that the fiscal policies of then-Republican candidate Mitt Romney would “put y’all back in chains.”
McEnany added that the White House should also not direct such comments at Trump given Biden’s 2020 claim to a New York City radio program that African-Americans who consider voting for the Florida Republican “ain’t Black.”
“Smollett is now a proven liar after the con artist was convicted of 5 of 6 charges for staging his own hate crime and lying to police about it,” Watters added.
“It was clear to any sensible person from the start that the facts of this hate hoax didn’t add up. But that didn’t matter to the media trying to push a racial narrative to divide the nation.”