Kyle Rittenhouse’s first interview since being acquitted of murder airs Monday night with none other than Tucker Carlson, and in it Rittenhouse described himself as “someone who supports the BLM movement” and alleges “prosecutorial misconduct” in his and other cases.
The Illinois teenager, who shot and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters and injured another during an uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, was found not guilty on all charges Friday. The American right has celebrated the verdict, with at least three Republican members of Congress offering Rittenhouse internships in their offices.
Rittenhouse denied that his decision to bring a gun to Kenosha as the protests were unfolding was based in racism, according to clips released from the interview as well as Fox News.
“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race; it had to do with the right to self-defense,” Rittenhouse said. “I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change.”
Rittenhouse added that there’s “a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases.”
“It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone,” Rittenhouse added.
The Rittenhouse case quickly turned into another front in the culture war: The Trump administration put out talking points sympathetic to Rittenhouse in the immediate aftermath of the shooting last fall, and the then-president’s son defended him as well.
Republican politicians celebrated his acquittal Friday; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called Rittenhouse “one of the good ones” and spent much of Friday imploring her Democratic colleagues to apologize to Rittenhouse. Rep. Madison Cawthorn encouraged his followers to “be armed and dangerous.” One Florida state representative called for a national holiday in Rittenhouse’s honor.
Former President Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee blasted out a fundraising email Friday celebrating the verdict as well. “GREAT NEWS FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE, who we knew was innocent all along,” the fundraising plea said. “This trial was nothing more than a WITCH HUNT from the Radical Left. They want to PUNISH law-abiding citizens, including a CHILD, like Kyle Rittenhouse, for doing nothing more than following the LAW.”
Racial justice activists, on the other hand, have been predictably furious, as have progressive politicians. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson told CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday that the Rittenhouse verdict was a “warning shot that vigilante justice is allowed in this country or in particular communities.”
On Sunday, protesters in Kenosha retraced the route Rittenhouse took in the city last year before he fatally shot Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and injured Gaige Grosskreutz in what he said was self-defense. “I didn’t intend to kill them,” Rittenhouse testified during the trial. “I intended to stop the people from attacking me.”
The spotlight on Rittenhouse isn’t likely to fade anytime soon, partially of his own choosing. Carlson’s production crew was granted exclusive access to Rittenhouse’s defense during the trial, and in addition to the interview airing Monday, a “Tucker Carlson Originals” documentary about the case will stream in December, according to CNN.
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