Several Democratic presidential candidates spoke up when the actor Jussie Smollett described a hateful attack based on his race and sexual orientation in January.
Not as many have spoken up since the police said the assault had been staged.
Mr. Smollett surrendered to face a felony charge of filing a false police report on Thursday, after the police in Chicago said he hired two brothers for the assault. Mr. Smollett denies the accusation, and his legal team said Thursday that he “feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
At first, several Democratic presidential candidates expressed support for Mr. Smollett, who stars on the show “Empire.” Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker both called the reported assault a “modern day lynching,” comments that Republicans are now criticizing them for.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ms. Harris said she was “sad, frustrated and disappointed” by the turn of events. But other candidates have not publicly revisited their initial views of the case.
President Trump, who initially told reporters the alleged attack was “horrible,” criticized Mr. Smollett on Twitter on Thursday for what he called “racist and dangerous comments.”
Here are the responses — and lack thereof — of Democratic presidential contenders on social media. Several candidates have not said anything.
Updated statements on Thursday
Two candidates who made statements in January offered new thoughts on Thursday: Ms. Harris and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
On Jan. 29, Ms. Harris called Mr. Smollett “one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know.”
But in her Facebook post on Thursday, she said a false claim to the police “not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward.” She then pivoted to a discussion of hate crimes, citing F.B.I. statistics showing a 17 percent increase last year.
“Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from that truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address,” she said.
On Jan. 29, Ms. Gabbard called the described assault “heartbreaking.”
On Thursday, she said in a series of tweets that, if guilty, Mr. Smollett “needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law to send a strong message to any potential future ‘hoaxers.’”
Spoke out in January but not after charges were filed
Mr. Booker, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joseph R. Biden Jr. — who is thought to be considering a presidential run but has not announced one — spoke up on Jan. 29 but have not put out new statements.
Mr. Booker used the alleged assault to promote an anti-lynching bill. He said this week he would withhold further comment “until all of the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources”; a spokesman did not immediately respond to a message on Thursday.
Mr. Castro, the former housing secretary and mayor of San Antonio, was the only candidate to hedge his statement on Jan. 29, prefacing it with “If the reports of Jussie Smollett’s attack last night are true.”
But later in the day he tweeted more definitively about Mr. Smollett. “In 2019, he was violently attacked because of his race and sexual orientation,” he wrote. A spokeswoman said Thursday that Mr. Castro had no new comment.
Initially, Ms. Gillibrand, a New York senator, called the reported assault “a sickening and outrageous attack” and said she was “praying for Jussie and his family.” She told CNN this week she would “wait to find out the facts before I make another statement;” a spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message on Thursday.
Mr. Biden, the former vice president, said “we are with you, Jussie” after the reported attack. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a message on Thursday.