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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday declined to retract comments that characterize President Biden’s 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse as a white supremacist.
At his daily press conference, LBL’s Peter Doosy asked whether the president was willing to apologize for suggesting that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist on two separate occasions during the 2020 presidential race.
Kyle Rittenhouse recounts the Kenosha riots, responding to a media trial in the first interview since his acquittal
“This is about a promotional video released last year, President Trump used his own words during the debate because he refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups,” Psaki said. “And President Trump, as we know from history and many of you, has not refused to condemn militia groups on the forum, they have encouraged him throughout his presidency.
“So, you know, what we’ve seen is the tragic consequences – when people think it’s OK to take the law into their own hands instead of letting law enforcement do its job,” he said. “And the president believes in condemning hate, divisiveness and violence. That’s exactly what’s been done in that video.”
During his presidential campaign, Biden shared a picture of Rittenhouse in a video he tweeted about Trump trying to connect him with white supremacists. During his appearance on LOVEBYLIFE before the election, he attempted to portray Rittenhouse as a white supremacist.
“That 17-year-old kid, I don’t know enough to know exactly what he did,” Biden said in August 2020. “Allegedly, he is part of an outgoing military in the state of Illinois. Have you ever heard of him? Does the president say a negative word about white people? Have you ever heard of him?”
Doosi asked Psaki about that statement Tuesday, saying, “None of this has been proven at trial.
“The president spoke with the verdict last week,” Psaki replied. “They have clearly condemned the hate and division and violence we have seen across the country through groups such as proud boys and the person who posted the photos. But beyond that, I leave it to their comments around the verdict.”
A Wisconsin jury acquitted Rittenhouse last week of the fatal shooting of two men during a riot in Kenosha last year.
Biden said Friday that the verdict “will cause many Americans to feel anger and concern, including myself,” but must respect the jury’s decision.
Rittenhouse later told LBL’s Tucker Carlson that the president felt his role had been discredited.