President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were among those reacting to the revelation that, according to law enforcement officials, actor Jussie Smollett faked a hate crime attack and blamed it on supporters of the president.
Smollett said he was attacked in the early hours of Jan. 29 by two white men who yelled “This is MAGA country,” in an apparent reference to Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
But in mid-February, police arrested two black men who then informed detectives that Smollett paid them thousands of dollars to fake the attack, even going so far as to rehearse it several days beforehand.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2019
Trump took to Twitter on Feb. 21 to ask, “Jussie Smollett—what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”
Incredible press conference. You can really hear the frustration and emotion in Superintendent Johnson’s voice. https://t.co/kWtHimlo4U
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 21, 2019
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also weighed in, calling a press conference police gave on Feb. 21 “incredible.”
“You can really hear the frustration and emotion in Superintendent Johnson’s voice,” Trump Jr. wrote.
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11 Venezuela Diplomats in US Defect from Maduro in a Month
Eleven out of 56 Venezuelan diplomats in the United States have defected from President Nicolas Maduro’s government since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president last month, a representative of the opposition said on Feb. 21.
Gustavo Marcano, a senior aide to the Venezuelan opposition’s envoy to Washington, told reporters that bank accounts for Venezuelan embassies and consulates in the United States had been frozen and that Maduro’s diplomatic network in the country had ceased to function.
The opposition was working to restore consular services in the United States, Marcano said. He warned Venezuelans living abroad not to use the official embassy website to apply for a visa, saying Maduro’s government was taking the money but not issuing the documents.
Carlos Vecchio, an opposition representative to the United States, told reporters: “We are receiving 11 diplomat officers from the former regime within our diplomatic mission.” He added that those who defected from Maduro’s government would continue to be employed under Guaido’s interim government.
The opposition’s news conference, held at a Washington think tank, was briefly interrupted by a pair of protesters from the activist group Code Pink. One woman shouted that Guaido’s team was a “fraud” and was part of a U.S.-orchestrated coup. Another unfurled a large banner that said “no coup in Venezuela.”
Vecchio prevented officials from interfering with the protesters and, at the end of their short speech, shook their hands and thanked them for their opinions before telling reporters that protest could not happen in Venezuela without political repercussions.
Workers Busy Bringing Oscars Red Carpet Glamour to Life
Oscars producers say viewers won’t miss having a host as they are promising a fast-paced show filled with musical moments.
Oscars Producer Glenn Weiss said: “We will keep the show moving, but part of the pre-planning that Donna and I were able to do is to sprinkle these fun moments throughout and these musical moments throughout.”
Performances from Queen, Bette Midler, and others will liven up Sunday’s show.
Producers reversed an initial plan to streamline the show by presenting some categories during commercial breaks but producer Donna Gigliotti said they were still hoping that the winners keep speeches to under 90 seconds to help trim the telecast.
Oscars Producer Donna Gigliotti: “Because somehow or other at midnight, you’ve lost a lot of people. They are in their beds cozy and comfy and they don’t see that one big speech.”