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Rahm Emanuel Chides Media, Politicians for Rushing to Believe Smollett, Don Lemon Makes it About Trump

Rahm Emanuel appeared on CNN on Thursday and spoke with Don Lemon about the Jussie Smollett case. He fought his emotions as spoke about the negative impact on Chicago, and later in the interview, he had words for the media and politicians who jumped the gun.

“I would just say one other cautionary note,” said Emanuel to Lemon as they were reaching the end of the segment. “I think the national media, I think national politicians, they need to take a step back.”

“They need to think about this moment. They need to think about other moments, and think about how we approach stories going forward,” he said, “because you and I know everybody rushed to judgment about the veracity of it. It didn’t add up to a lot of us that live in Chicago.”

It is explicitly clear that what Emanuel was referring to was people rushing to believe Smollett’s story.

Don Lemon, however, took that jab obviously meant for his own profession and for what were almost exclusively Democrat politicians rushing to not just believe the story, but to draw conclusions based on it, and turned it into somehow a jab a Trump.

Lemon read aloud a Tweet from Trump that was essentially a cruder version of the same basic sentiment expressed by Emanuel, and by Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson on Thursday: that Smollett had done harm to others. Emanuel spoke of the victims of legitimate assault and hate crime who may be less likely to be believed, and the damage done to the city of Chicago. Trump and Carlson spoke of the damage done to the MAGA supporters across the country. But in both cases, the sentiment was harm done by Smollett and by the media and politicians who believed and repeated his claims.

So when Emanuel said “national politicians” that was his polite way of referring to mostly Democrat politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Howard Dean, and Cory Booker, who had early on offered statements or tweets accepting Smollett’s story, which Emanuel said most Chicago residents found to be not very believable.

But here’s what Don Lemon said after showing Trump’s tweet: “You talked about national politicians, he is the biggest politician, the leader of the free world, really.”

He could not have more thoroughly or deliberately missed the point. He went on, too, saying that the country is divided and “debating blackface scandals” … which is incidentally another Democrat scandal. He added to his list of things the country is “debating” the “Nazis marching in Charlottesville,” and said that “emotions are raw right now,” asking Emanuel if Smollett was “taking advantage of the divides in our society.”

Emanuel condemned Trump’s “moral equivalence of what happened in Virginia between bigots and those fighting bigotry.” He did not specifically reply to Lemon implying that Smollett had merely taken advantage of divisiveness that was Trump’s fault. He did repeat again before the end of the interview that right from the start, people in Chicago felt that Smollett’s story “didn’t add up.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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