Too easy. Who couldn’t have seen this coming? In a speech to law enforcement in Chicago, Donald Trump blasted both the House impeachment effort and Jussie Smollett as “scams,” drawing laughter and applause. Trump also called both “hate crimes,” referencing Smollett’s bizarre claim that his alleged attackers had claimed to be from “MAGA Country” in the heart of the Chicago Democratic machine:
Trump also peppered the comparison and his view of Chicago’s crime status with lots of criticism for police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who announced a boycott of the speech yesterday:
While reveling in the weekend death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Donald Trump used a law enforcement speech Monday to blast Chicago’s police superintendent, the actor Jussie Smollett, and Democrats seeking his impeachment.
Attacking Smollett’s unfounded allegations of an assault he blamed on Trump supporters, the president told the International Association of Police Chiefs: “That’s a hate crime, it’s a scam – just like the impeachment of your president is a scam.”
Trump also took after Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who skipped the president’s speech to the police chiefs’ group over his immigration policy.
Describing Johnson’s comments as “insulting,” Trump blamed Chicago’s high crime rate on Johnson and said he should have attended the chiefs’ meeting because “maybe he could learn something.”
“I want Eddie Johnson to change his values and change them fast,” Trump said.
The irony here is that Johnson’s an ally of Trump when it comes to Smollett. Johnson has vociferously and angrily attacked both Smollett and the local prosecutor who let him slide without even a substantial wrist slap. Johnson held a press conference with then-mayor Rahm Emanuel to call Smollett’s claims a hoax and to call into question the integrity of the city’s state attorney, Kim Foxx.
Not that it matters. Trump’s using Smollett as a foil for commentary on impeachment, not the other way around. While he’s having fun with the hyperbole — how can impeachment be a “hate crime”? — his audience appears to be having more fun with the comparison and the local reference. “Smollett is still trying to get away with it,” Trump declared. “He would have been better off if he paid his $100,000 bill.”
The speech wasn’t all a defense on impeachment. Trump took a victory lap on the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, arguing that “another president should’ve gotten him … years ago.” That may be a fair point, but it’s also fair to point out that Trump’s only a couple of months away from his three-year anniversary in office. If it was that easy, why not do this in 2017?
TRUMP on al-Baghdadi: "He should've been killed years ago. Another president should've gotten him … They'd walk into my office — 'sir, we've killed this leader at a low level.' I said, 'I never heard of him. I want al-Baghdadi. That's the only one I know now. Get him!'" 😳 pic.twitter.com/MW9gVXUDhp
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 28, 2019