Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene has introduced a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal – the legislative branch’s highest honour – to Kyle Rittenhouse.
he teenager was last week found not guilty of homicide and other charges related to his fatal shooting of two men during a protest against police violence last year.
While the bill’s full text was not immediately available, a summary states the measure would “award a Congressional Gold Medal to Kyle H. Rittenhouse, who protected the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot”.
The likelihood that Ms Greene’s effort will be successful is low.
A bill requesting a Congressional Gold Medal must be co-sponsored by two-thirds of the House and the Senate, both now controlled by Democrats, before it is considered by the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
After it is passed in Congress, the measure must be authorised by the president.
While congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden have said they respect the jury’s decision in Rittenhouse’s case, they have largely condemned his actions in Kenosha.
Mr Rittenhouse, now 18, was found not guilty of homicide, attempted homicide and other charges related to the August 2020 killings.
During his trial, the teen testified he had acted in self-defence when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36), and Anthony Huber (26), and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz (now 27), during a BLM protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Mr Rittenhouse had travelled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to join armed civilians who took to the city’s streets amid unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man who was wanted for alleged sexual assault. Blake survived the shooting but was left partially paralysed.
Mr Rittenhouse’s acquittal was celebrated by many Republicans in Congress, who rushed to Twitter upon hearing the news to congratulate him and describe his actions as a stand for Second Amendment rights.
Ms Greene was among those who reached out to Mr Rittenhouse upon his acquittal, tweeting that the teenager is “one of (the) good ones”.
The bill, which does not have any co-sponsors yet, has been referred to the House’s Financial Services and Administration committees.
Past recipients of the Gold Medal include Winston Churchill, Bob Hope, George Washington, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.
Ms Greene was one of 21 House Republicans who voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to US Capitol Police and DC police officers who defended the Capitol during the January 6 attack by a pro-Trump mob.
She said she voted against those honours as she didn’t believe the legislation should refer to the January 6 riot as an “insurrection”.
In a statement, Ms Greene said: “Kyle Rittenhouse deserves to be remembered as a hero who defended his community, protected businesses, and acted lawfully in the face of lawlessness. I’m proud to file this legislation to award Kyle Rittenhouse a Congressional Gold Medal.” (© The Washington Post)
© Washington Post