At a White House news briefing Monday night, Trump condemned social justice protesters, praised his supporters and the police and declined to condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with homicide after opening fire on a group of protesters in Kenosha, Wis., killing two and injuring one.
“We’re looking at all of it,” Trump said when asked about Rittenhouse. “That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them. I guess it looks like he fell and then they very violently attacked him. … But I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed. It’s under investigation.”
Trump’s comments echo the defense offered by Rittenhouse’s attorneys, who said he “did nothing wrong” and “exercised his God-given, constitutional, common law and statutory law right to self-defense.” Rittenhouse was chased by several people after he allegedly shot Joseph “Jojo” Rosenbaum five times, killing him; he then shot two other men, killing one and wounding the other, prosecutors say.
Biden responded by arguing that Trump “is too weak, too scared of the hatred he has stirred to put an end to it.”
“So once again, I urge the President to join me in saying that while peaceful protest is a right — a necessity — violence is wrong, period,” Biden said in a statement. “No matter who does it, no matter what political affiliation they have. Period. If Donald Trump can’t say that, then he is unfit to be President, and his preference for more violence — not less — is clear.”
“I understand they had large numbers of people that were supporters, but that was a peaceful protest,” Trump said. “And paint is … a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets.”
The president issued a lengthy defense of law enforcement, complaining that cases in which police officers kill Americans are covered more extensively than cases in which officers perform good deeds.
“If they make the wrong decision in the other direction, they’re probably dead,” Trump said of police officers. “So, they choke sometimes. And that goes on the evening news for weeks. And the thousands and tens of thousands of great things they do. Nobody covers that.”