On CNN New day John Avlon on Friday morning described former President Donald Trump as “the Jussie Smollett of American politics”, comparing Trump to the actor sentenced Thursday on five counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was the victim of a hate crime. Smollett, Avlon said, “seemed to believe being a victim would elevate his stature, which says a lot about what we honor in society today.”
Smollett told police after the alleged attack near downtown Chicago in 2019 that two men attacked him, using racist and homophobic slurs. These men, Smollett claimed, also poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck. “Throughout his trial, Smollett continued to insist that he was telling the truth, as if repeating the lie would somehow erase the overwhelming evidence,” Avlon said.
Avlon noted that repeating Smollett’s lie – and believing that being seen as a victim would get people to support him – “is a strategy he might as well have learned from Donald Trump: when is caught in a lie, double the bet. Lie more. Play the victim. Ignore the facts. Make excuses. Demonize the other side and hope the confusion clouds the waters enough to deceive your supporters and avoid accountability. “
“It didn’t work in the case of Jussie Smollet. The trial shed light on the truth, ”Avlon said. “But he’s an actor. Donald Trump was President of the United States. It should not be held at a lower level.
“And yet, so far, he has avoided legal responsibility for his hoax,” Avlon said. “Hit the American people by continuing to lie about the free and fair elections they lost.” Trying to intimidate election officials and interfere with election results – two crimes, by the way. Incite insurgency and sow distrust of our democracy and the process. And of course, despite all the evidence, Donald Trump’s big lie continues to be amplified by the right-wing media. In this sense, Donald Trump is the Jussie Smollett of American politics.
Avlon concluded, “We break this fever when we follow the facts without fearing the favors, reminding ourselves that all lies end where accountability begins. “