She was referring to 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, the men whom Rittenhouse shot and killed in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2020. Conservative commentators have highlighted that both Rosenbaum and Huber had criminal backgrounds and served prison sentences. Last month, Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges related to the shootings.
“Congratulations,” Watson said Monday to Rittenhouse. “Good job, you.”
Rittenhouse, 18, responded that the killings were “nothing to be congratulated about.”
“Like, if I could go back, I wish I would never have had to take somebody’s life,” he said.
Watson, who later said she doesn’t condone killing people, asked if Rittenhouse regretted going to Kenosha in the first place. Rittenhouse lived just across the Illinois border in Antioch.
“Well, hindsight being 20/20, probably not the best idea to go down there,” Rittenhouse said. “Can’t change that. But I defended myself and that’s what happened.”
Rittenhouse’s remarks come just over two weeks after a jury acquitted him on all counts, including homicide and attempted homicide. Rittenhouse joined armed civilians in Kenosha, carrying his AR-15-style rifle, as peaceful protests gave way to riots in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The teenager’s case sparked a sharp debate about the line between self-defense and violent vigilantism. The prosecution claimed Rittenhouse escalated the situation in Kenosha by showing up armed. The teen’s legal team argued Rittenhouse only fired his weapon in self-defense.
Politicians and pundits were quick to chime in. Some on the left, including President Biden, have condemned Rittenhouse’s actions while saying they respect the jury’s decision. Meanwhile, many on the right have valorized the teenager. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has introduced a bill to award Rittenhouse the Congressional Gold Medal — the legislative branch’s highest honor. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) have said they want to hire Rittenhouse as a congressional intern. And during an interview with Rittenhouse shortly after his trial, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that Rittenhouse “tries his best to do the right thing at a time when almost no one else in the community is trying to do the right thing.”
But during his appearance on “You Are Here,” Rittenhouse pushed back on that narrative.
“You don’t like when people call you a hero?” Watson asked. “Does it make you uncomfortable?”
“It does — it really does,” Rittenhouse said, adding: “Because I don’t think I did anything heroic; I just defended myself.”
Despite the offers from members of Congress, Rittenhouse told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield he’s not interested in entering politics “at all.”
Rittenhouse said during the podcast on Monday that he will attend Arizona State University in the spring. Despite Rittenhouse saying on the stand that he was a student there, university officials told AZCentral last week that he is not currently enrolled.
Responding a listener’s question, Rittenhouse also said on the podcast that he plans to destroy the rifle he used in Kenosha.
“You’re not going to, like, sell it?” Watson asked, suggesting to Rittenhouse that he could make a lot of money.
“We’re just having it destroyed,” Rittenhouse reiterated. “I think that’s the best thing, and that’s what I want to do with it.”