White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday refused to explain why President Biden chose to label Kyle Rittenhouse a “white supremacist” immediately after the 17-year-old shot three white men during the riots in Kenosha, Wisc. last year.
After exhaling deeply, Psaki replied: “What I’m not going to speak to right now is an ongoing trial nor the president’s past comments. What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons.”
Doocy: “Why did President Biden suggest that Kyle Rittenhouse … is a white supremacist?”
Psaki: “We shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons.” pic.twitter.com/N9jPenDXDZ
— The Recount (@therecount) November 15, 2021
In September of last year, then Democratic presidential nominee Biden criticized incumbent President Trump on Twitter for refusing to condemn anti-BLM actors as “white supremacists.” The tweet text was accompanied by a video which showed an image of Rittenhouse’s face.
“There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night,” Biden tweeted last year.
Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and injured another after falling to the ground while fleeing a group of attackers. The shooting occurred during the riots that followed the police killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha last August.
After the Rittenhouse trial began early this month, Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, appeared on Fox News to say that Biden “defamed” her son when he called him a white supremacist.
“He is not a white supremacist. He is not a racist,” Rittenhouse told Fox News host Sean Hannity Thursday night.
It is the prosecution’s contention that the 18-year-old was a rogue opportunist who traveled to Kenosha to seek out opportunities for violence. While the prosecution is alleging that Rittenhouse committed homicide, the defense argues that he acted in self-defense that night. Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last week, breaking down on the stand as he recounted his version of events.
The judge presiding over Rittenhouse’s murder trial dismissed a lesser misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 Monday morning before closing arguments began.