CNN guest Tiffany Cross managed to turn the allegedly hoaxed hate crime by “Empire” star Jussie Smollett back on Trump supporters during a panel discussion Friday morning.
Cross, a co-founder of The Beat DC, admitted that what Smollett allegedly did to stage the crime is “sociopathic,” but then immediately turned her attention to deriding supporters of President Donald Trump — despite their apparent lack of involvement in the incident. (RELATED: CNN Treats Smollett With Kid Gloves After He Becomes A Suspect)
“I think we have to be honest about what the MAGA hat has come to represent, what the MAGA symbol has come to represent — I don’t know that I would conflate these two,” Cross said. “This is an actor, you know, allegedly feigning this whole attack, trying to get more money for his salary, that’s a separate conversation from what’s happening in society at large and the divide that’s happening in this country.”
“Didn’t he in fact attempt to paint the MAGA supporters as these racist and homophobic people?” CNN contributor Nischelle Turner questioned.
“But, Nischelle, I have to respectfully disagree. I think MAGA supporters have painted themselves as that,” Cross said. “When you look at footage, when you hear things they say, this is the honest truth and we have to be bold enough to call that out.”
CNN anchors Alisyn Camerota and John Berman attempted to push back on Cross by explaining that no one in a MAGA hat was responsible for the alleged attack and that the vast majority of Trump supporters do not represent the ideologies Cross identified. (RELATED: MSNBC’s Primetime Lineup Ignores Smollett Charges)
“If the Chicago Police are right, no one in a MAGA hat did this,” Berman said, trying to steer the conversation back to Smollett. “This is on him if the police are right here.”
Smollett was arrested Thursday morning after being charged for filing a false police report. Smollett claimed in late January that two men attacked him in Chicago and called him homophobic and racial slurs while yelling “this is MAGA country.”