President Donald Trump jumped to the defense on Monday of a teenager from the Midwest who is accused of killing two protesters after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“We’re looking at all this,” Trump told a news conference Monday when asked by a reporter if he would “condemn the actions of vigilantes like Kyle Rittenhouse.”
“It was an interesting situation,” Trump said. “You saw the same tape as me and he was trying to get out of them, I guess, it seems. And he fell, and then they attacked him very fiercely, and that was something we̵
“Trump went on to say, ‘I guess he had a lot of problems,’ adding that he was probably going to be killed, but he’s under investigation.”
The 17-year-old Rittenhouse has been charged with murder for the murder of two protesters, as The Daily Beast reported earlier.
The incident came last Tuesday after protests erupted in Kenosha following the police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old black man. Widespread video shows Blake being shot several times in the back by a police officer after he walked away from police and got into a vehicle.
Trump also used Monday’s press conference to defend a group of pro-Trump protesters who drove a caravan in downtown Portland over the weekend to counter anti-racism protesters there. The members of the caravan were caught on video, spraying crowds with paintballs and pepper. A person who was identified by colleagues from the pro-Trump crowd as a “friend” of the far-right Patriot Prayer group was fatally shot.
Asked about the alleged provocations caused by the pro-Trump caravan, Trump was just as contemptuous.
“It was a peaceful protest,” he said. “Paint is not a bullet.”
Trump is due to travel to Kenosha on Tuesday. When a reporter asked about the governor of Wisconsin and the mayor of Kenosha, preferring the president not to visit and the concern that this could further escalate the situation, Trump downplayed the concern.
“Well, that can also increase enthusiasm,” Trump said. “And that can increase love and respect for our country.”
“With additional reporting from Sam Stein.”