President Donald Trump jumped to the defense Monday of the Midwestern teenager who has been charged with the murder of two protesters following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“We’re looking at all of it,” Trump said during a press conference Monday when asked by a reporter if he would “condemn the actions of vigilantes like Kyle Rittenhouse.”
“That was an interesting situation,” Trump said. “You saw the same tape as I saw and he was trying to get away from them, I guess, looks like. And he fell and then they very violently attacked him and it was something that we’re looking at right now, and it’s under investigation.”
Trump went on to say Rittenhouse was “in very big trouble” before he allegedly shot the protesters, adding that “he probably would have been killed but it’s under investigation.”
The 17-year-old Rittenhouse has been charged with murder for allegedly killing two protesters, as The Daily Beast previously reported.
The incident last Tuesday came after protests broke out in Kenosha following the police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. Widely circulated video showed Blake being shot repeatedly in the back by a law enforcement official after he walked away from police and went to enter a vehicle.
Trump also used Monday’s news conference to defend a group of pro-Trump demonstrators who drove a caravan into downtown Portland over the weekend to counter anti-racism protesters there. Members of the caravan were caught on video spraying crowds with paintballs and pepper spray. One individual, who was identified by fellow members of the pro-Trump crowd as a “friend” of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, was fatally shot.
Asked about the alleged provocations the pro-Trump caravan had caused, Trump was equally dismissive.
“That was a peaceful protest,” he said. “Paint is not bullets.”
—With additional reporting from Sam Stein