Trump defends Rittenhouse, the proper-wing Kenosha shooter charged with killing two protesters

WASHINGTON — Through a White Residence news conference on Monday, President Trump recommended that the 17-year-old accused of killing two persons with a semiautomatic rifle at a protest in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25 had acted in self-defense.

“That was an exciting scenario. You saw the exact same tape as I saw and he was attempting to get away from them I guess it appears like,” Trump mentioned of Kyle Rittenhouse, adding, “He fell and then they quite violently attacked him and it was anything that we’re seeking at proper now and it is below investigation. But I guess he was in quite huge problems … he likely would have been killed.”

Rittenhouse had traveled to protests in Kenosha from his dwelling in a nearby Illinois town. Kenosha has been the web-site of intense demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, given that Aug. 23, when a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot seven instances in the back by a white police officer. Blake’s shooting was captured on video and turned the city into a focal point for the ongoing national protests against racial injustice and police brutality that erupted about the nation following the death of George Floyd in May well. Primarily based on posts on his social media pages, it seems that Rittenhouse has been a supporter of the president, attending a Trump rally in January.

President Trump at a news conference at the White House on Monday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)President Trump at a news conference at the White House on Monday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Trump at a news conference at the White Residence on Monday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Video filmed by witnesses shows Rittenhouse carrying a huge rifle and accompanying groups of proper-wing activists who have mentioned they went to Kenosha to defend house against rioting. Rittenhouse was also filmed operating away from the scene of a shooting and subsequently getting chased by protesters. The footage shows Rittenhouse fall as he runs away from demonstrators who accused him of the earlier shooting. He is then observed firing his gun at some of his pursuers from the ground. Rittenhouse was arrested the following day and charged with killing two persons and seriously injuring a third.

Although Trump seemed to justify Rittenhouse opening fire on the protesters, he repeatedly criticized “left-wing political violence” that has occurred at current protests “in Democrat-run cities.”

“The wave of violence and destruction that we’ve observed in current weeks and months has occurred in cities exclusively controlled and dominated by the Biden, Joe Biden celebration,” Trump mentioned.

Rioting and looting have taken location inside the protests in a number of cities given that Floyd’s death in late May well. On Saturday evening, a man named Aaron Danielson was shot and killed at a protest in Portland, Ore. Members of the far-proper group Patriot Prayer, which has engaged in clashes with leftists in Portland given that effectively ahead of Floyd’s death, identified Danielson as a single of their supporters. Authorities have not identified a suspect in the killing, but according to the Wall Street Journal they are investigating a leftist antifa activist named Michael Reinoehl as a individual of interest.

Portland has been gripped by civil unrest which includes skirmishes involving left-wing and proper-wing groups in the months given that Floyd’s death. Danielson’s killing on Saturday followed an occasion billed as the “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally in Portland,” exactly where the president’s supporters drove into the city in a caravan of automobiles. Trump supporters had been filmed firing paintballs at protesters as they drove via town.

At his news conference, Trump was asked if he would condemn his supporters who shot the paintballs along with leftists who have engaged in rioting.

“That was a peaceful protest and paint … is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets,” Trump mentioned.

Kyle Rittenhouse, at left in backward cap, walks in Kenosha, Wis., at around 11 p.m. on Aug. 25 with another armed civilian. (Adam Rogan/the Journal Times via AP)Kyle Rittenhouse, at left in backward cap, walks in Kenosha, Wis., at around 11 p.m. on Aug. 25 with another armed civilian. (Adam Rogan/the Journal Times via AP)
Kyle Rittenhouse, at left in backward cap, walks in Kenosha, Wis., at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 25 with a further armed civilian. (Adam Rogan/the Journal Occasions by way of AP)

The president then referenced Danielson’s killing and blamed it on leftists, even though that has not been confirmed by nearby law enforcement. Trump described Danielson as “a young gentleman” who was killed “not with paint, but with a bullet.”

“I assume it is disgraceful,” he mentioned of Danielson’s death.

The president also presented a rationale for the proper-wing protesters in Portland. He recommended they are rightfully angered by increasing crime in American cities.

“They went in quite peacefully and I’ll inform you what they’re protesting,” Trump mentioned. “When they turn on the tv or study what ever they may well be reading, and they see a city like Chicago … or a city like New York exactly where the crime price has gone via the roof, or a city like Portland … exactly where the complete city is ablaze all the time … they see that, they say, ‘This is not our nation.’”

The president and his campaign have increasingly focused on violence at protests and surging crime as a case for his reelection. Trump and his allies have blamed this on Democratic nearby governments and the “Defund the police” movement that has gained traction in the wake of Floyd’s death. Crime has risen in the majority of significant cities about the nation given that the coronavirus pandemic started in March. Nonetheless, this improve has incorporated a couple of Republican-led cities and locales exactly where there has been no protest-driven work to decrease police budgets. Trump’s claims about soaring crime have also incorporated some questionable assertions. In New York, prices of murders, shootings and burglaries are all up this year, but prices of other significant crimes, such as rapes, assaults and robberies, have fallen.

Trump also employed the news conference to accuse his opponent in the presidential race of not condemning violence from leftists. Nonetheless, in a speech earlier Monday, Biden criticized protesters who engage in violent activity.

“I want to make it certainly clear: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It is lawlessness, plain and very simple, and these who do it really should be prosecuted,” Biden mentioned.

Biden also described Trump as an individual who “fans the flames” of unrest.

In spite of Biden’s harsh words, Trump recommended his rival hasn’t completed adequate to “mention the far left” as a supply of violence.

“He even talked about these on the proper, but he didn’t speak about these on the left and these on the left are the issue,” mentioned Trump. “The rioters and Joe Biden have a side. They’re each on the side of the radical left.”

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