Former President Trump congratulated Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday, after the teenager was found not guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of two men in racial justice protests.
The verdict divided America. As the left denounced the outcome as a miscarriage of justice, the right said Rittenhouse never should have been put on trial.
‘Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges,’ said Trump in an emailed statement.
‘It’s called being found NOT GUILTY—And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!’
A fundraising appeal followed.
‘This trial was nothing more than a WITCH HUNT from the Radical Left,’ said an email to supporters, directing them to donate to the online WinRed platform.
‘They want to PUNISH law-abiding citizens, including a CHILD, like Kyle Rittenhouse, for doing nothing more than following the LAW.’
Jurors found Rittenhouse, 18, not guilty on all charges: two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide for wounding a third man, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety in protests marred by arson, rioting and looting on Aug. 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The outcome triggered anger among many Democrats.
Former President Donald Trump congratulated Kyle Rittenhouse on being acquitted on all five charges related to the fatal shooting of two men and the wounding of a third
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and fired a bullet that tore a chunk off the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28. Rittenhouse claimed self defense
‘While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,’ said President Biden
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerold Nadler said: ‘This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by [the Department of Justice].
‘Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.’
Rittenhouse cannot be tried again for the same alleged crime, and DOJ does not have the authority to prosecute state crimes – although it does probe law enforcement for bias or misconduct.
President Joe Biden said Friday that he stands by the jury that found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty – as Republicans renewed demands that he apologize for comparing the Kenosha shooter to white supremacists in the wake of the verdict.
‘I stand by with the jury as the jury system has concluded. The jury system works and you have to abide by it,’ Biden told reporters Friday afternoon as he returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he had a physical.
He said he ‘just heard a moment ago’ about the verdict, and says he ‘didn’t watch the trial’, which featured dramatic clashes between the prosecution and defense lawyers and testimony by the accused teen in an event that got gavel-to-gavel cable news coverage.
Biden also issued a statement saying he and other Americans were ‘angry and concerned’ by the verdict.
Republican lawmakers and other officials are demanding that Biden apologize to Rittenhouse for comparing Rittenhouse to white supremacists following the Wisconsin jury’s not-guilty verdict.
‘Joe Biden needs to publicly apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse,’ said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), in a statement immediately after the verdict.
‘The jury system works and you have to abide by it,’ President Joe Biden said Friday when asked about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict
‘While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,’ Biden said in the official White House statement.
‘I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.’
He also referenced fears of potential violence in Kenosha after the acquittal.
‘I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy. The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor [Tony] Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety.’
Vice President Kamala Harris made brief remarks to reporters on the verdict, saying it ‘really speaks for itself. As many of you know, I’ve spent a majority of my career working to make the criminal justice system more equitable. And, clearly, there’s a lot more work to do,’ the former prosecutor said.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson championed the verdict. ‘I believe justice has been served in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I hope everyone can accept the verdict, remain peaceful, and let the community of Kenosha heal and rebuild,’ he tweeted.
Last September while running as a presidential candidate, Biden sent out a tweet condemning Donald Trump for refusing to call anti-BLM protesters white supremacists. It showed the march in Charlottesville as well an image of Rittenhouse’s face in Kenosha.
‘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 said.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel released a statement saying before ‘he knew the facts, Biden prejudged the Rittenhouse case. He smeared a teenager to score political points and spread lies about this case. What Biden did was dangerous and inflammatory. Biden needs to apologize and ACT NOW before the left uses his lies to fuel violence.’
Lawmakers on both sides of the issue took to Twitter express their relief or anger.
Biden tweeted an image of Kenosha during the campaign in a post that slammed Trump for refusing to disavow white supremacists
Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on five counts Friday at the culmination of his trial. Lawmakers reacted nearly immediately to the verdict, with Republicans demanding President Joe Biden apologize for a tweet that linked him to white supremacism
The Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement saying: ‘It is unconscionable our justice system would allow an armed vigilante — who traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz — to go free.
Said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.): ‘I’d like to have faith in our criminal justice system, but the immediate question that comes to mind with this news is “Would he have been acquitted if he were black?’
Wrote Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-La.): ‘I hope this young man realizes that he was given a chance at life – one that we all know might not have been afforded to him if he had been Black – and dedicates himself to repairing the deep rifts in our community and in our country that he created.’
New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted: ‘This is a dark day for our justice system. As a lawyer, I respect jury verdicts. But this is yet another reminder that our system needs to be uprooted and reformed.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was informed of the jury’s not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial during the White House press briefing – and promised reporters President Biden would weigh in with a statement.
President Joe Biden is expected to issue a statement on the verdict
‘It obviously just happened while I was out here, so let me talk to the president,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, promising to provide a statement ‘as soon as we can’
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was among those calling for Rittenhouse to apologize
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said ‘justice has been served’
The Congressional Black Caucus called the verdict ‘unconcionable’
She was asked about it just seconds after the 12-person jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts of intentional homicide, attempted intentional homicide, or reckless endangerment for shooting and killing two men and injuring another amid protests in Kenosha in August 2020.
‘It obviously just happened while I was out here, so let me talk to the president,’ Psaki responded, talk to our team, and we will get you a statement as soon as we can,’ she said.
She was asked about Judge Bruce Schroeder decision not to have the term ‘victims’ used to describe the people that Rittenhouse shot and killed or injured. ‘I’m not going to give an assessment of this from here,’ she said. ‘Let us get you a statement as soon as we can.’
Before the verdict, she said the administration has been ‘in close touch with officials on the ground through law enforcement channels to ensure we are supporting any efforts toward peaceful protests. That’s certainly what we will continue to encourage as anyone looks to have their voice heard regardless of the outcome.’
Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts Friday afternoon.
The jury reached a verdict in the Kenosha shooter trial on Friday after four days of deliberation.
Rittenhouse, 18, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other counts for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020.
Kyle Rittenhouse broke down on the witness stand last week as recalled the moment he was ‘ambushed’ by Joseph Rosenbaum the night he shot him dead
Judge Bruce Schroeder shouted down Prosecutor Thomas Binger last week in a moment of high courtroom drama
Demonstrators have been gathered outside the Kenosha Courthouse all week, as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called in 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to counter the expected protests.
The verdict marks the explosive end of a trial that has been riddled with controversy and drama that has threatened to derail proceedings more than once.
Two of the six original charges were dismissed before they ever went to the jury when Judge Schroeder tossed first a curfew violation count and then the one charge that seemed all but a slam-dunk for the prosecution: possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
The gun charge was dismissed on the grounds that the state failed to satisfy the entire statute which, in Wisconsin, requires not only that the person be under 18 but that the rifle be short-barreled – Rittenhouse’s AR-15 was not.