Rittenhouse Accuses Biden of Malice, Defamation in First TV Interview Since Verdict
On Friday, US President Joe Biden declared that he stands by the jury's decision to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed two people and injured another individual amid civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. Biden also acknowledged that he did not watch the trial.
Rittenhouse, 18, had a few words for the US president during the Monday broadcast of his interview with Fox News opinion show host Tucker Carlson.
Speaking of a video Biden tweeted in September 2020, the 18-year-old said that Biden defamed his character by including him in a compilation alongside known white supremacist and militia groups.
"Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you, I would urge you to go back and watch the trial and understand the facts before you make a statement," he said to Biden during the interview.
The 18-year-old asserted that the president's characterization of him was unfair.
Within the video in question, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace is asking then-Republican nominee and President Donald Trump if he was "willing to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland."
An image of Rittenhouse is flashed as Wallace mentions the unrest in Kenosha.
Later in the video, Trump is seen condemning political violence from the left before infamously telling members of the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist, group to "stand back and stand by."
"There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night," Biden said in the tweet. The video compilation has been viewed more than 3.7 million times.
"It’s actual malice, defaming my character for him to say something like that," he said in his first television interview since the verdict, denying that he was a white supremacist.
Rittenhouse also clarified that he was not part of a militia.
Rittenhouse Says Media Manipulated Facts of Case to Fit White Supremacist Narrative
Rittenhouse maintained that the city of Kenosha failed their community by not calling for the National Guard ahead of the racial justice demonstrations. He told Carlson that he believes "opportunists" took advantage of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration and used it as a moment to cause chaos.
The 18-year-old also revealed that he supports the racial justice movement and their right to protest.
"I agree with the BLM movement. I agree everybody has the right to protest and assemble," he told Carlson. "I do not agree that people have the right to burn down ... American cities."
"This case had nothing to do with race," Rittenhouse raised.
The 18-year-old asserted that it was "sick" how people were twisting the facts of the case to fit a narrative in which he was a white supremacist and member of a militia.
In addition to an apology from the US president, Rittenhouse may also be seeking to hold a number of entities and people accountable for the lies and defamatory statements made during the trial. He told Carlson that he had no idea the case could be so polarizing and politicized by the media.
Looking forward, Rittenhouse said that he plans on attending Arizona State University, although he does not know whether he will take classes in-person.
"This is far from the life I planned," Rittenhouse confessed, reiterating that he wishes the situation never took place.