Donald Trump has called Kyle Rittenhouse a “nice young man” after revealing that the teenager who was recently acquitted for murder visited him at his Florida resort.
The former US president said that Rittenhouse met him at Mar-a-Lago with his mother, days after all charges against him were dropped for killing two men and wounding another at a 2020 racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Trump called Rittenhouse a “fan” and said that the young man was a victim of “prosecutorial misconduct” (via Politico).
On Friday (November 19) Rittenhouse was cleared of all charges for shooting dead two men and injuring another at the protest last August, having argued that he had acted in self-defence.
Now, in an interview this week with Fox News‘ Sean Hannity, Trump praised the teenager, showing clear support of the trial’s outcome. “Really a nice young man. What he went through – he should’ve, that was prosecutorial misconduct. He should not have had to suffer through a trial for that,” Trump said.
“He was going to be dead. If he didn’t pull that trigger, that guy that put the gun to his head, in one quarter of a second, he was going to pull the trigger – Kyle would’ve been dead.”
He continued: “Just left Mar-a-Lago a little while ago and he should never have been put through that. That was prosecutorial misconduct, and it’s happening all over the United States right now with the Democrats.”
Trump’s interview with Hannity followed Tucker Carlson’s Monday night (November 22) interview on Fox News with Rittenhouse after the trial’s conclusion.
Rittenhouse told the host that his trial was not about politics. “No matter what your opinion is or where you stand, this wasn’t a political case, it shouldn’t have been a political case, it was made a political case. It has nothing to do with race and the ways people are twisting this is sickening,” he said.
The trial verdict caused outrage, with many people quickly taking to social media to express their dismay at what they claimed was a racially-motivated attack by Rittenhouse.
Protests against the not-guilty verdict also erupted in places including Kenosha and Chicago over the weekend.
The 18-year-old had attended the Kenosha rally, which was sparked by the fatal shooting of Black man Jacob Blake by a white police officer, with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle.
He claimed that he was in the town to protect property and provide medical assistance amid the unrest.