President Donald Trump has addressed the attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
“That I can tell you is horrible. I’ve seen it, last night,” Trump said Thursday in the Oval Office, after a reporter asked his thoughts on the case. “It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.”
Smollett has said he was attacked by two men early Tuesday morning in Chicago, after leaving a Subway restaurant.
The singer-songwriter, 35, told police he was beaten by assailants who yelled “racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.
During the attack, the perpetrators doused the actor with a chemical and “wrapped a rope around” his neck, according to police.
The actor’s manager, Brandon Z. Moore, told Variety he was on the phone with Smollett during the attack and heard the assailants yell “MAGA country.”
“I heard that clearly. I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur,” he said.
The case has gotten international attention, with fans, celebrities, the creators of Empire and 20th Century Fox Television all condemning the attack.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi announced Wednesday on Twitter that “detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest” in the attack.
CPD also released grainy photos of the two individuals.
Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed pic.twitter.com/xJDDygtocr
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 31, 2019
“Photos of people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of ‘Empire’ cast member. While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed,” Guglielmi tweeted.
The police spokesman’s comments came just hours after he said officers had combed through hundreds of hours of surveillance video near the location where Smollett said he was attacked, but detectives had found “no video of the alleged assailants.”