Sen. Tom Cotton on Friday called on President Biden to apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse after a jury acquitted the teenager on all charges in connection to the fatal shooting of two people during last year’s racial justice riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Joe Biden needs to publicly apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse,” Mr. Cotton, Arkansas Republican, wrote on Twitter, recounting how the president equated Mr. Rittenhouse with white supremacists.
During last year’s presidential election, Mr. Biden on Twitter criticized former President Trump for refusing to condemn anti-Black Lives Matters protestors as “white supremacists.” The tweet included a video that showed an image of Mr. Rittenhouse’s face.
“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,” Mr. Biden wrote in September 2020.
Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why Mr. Biden chose to label the 17-year-old Mr. Rittenhouse as a white supremacist. She declined to address the issue.
“What I’m not going to speak to right now is an ongoing trial nor the president’s past comments. What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons,” she said.
Mr. Rittenhouse’s mother said earlier this month that Mr. Biden “defamed” her son, telling Fox News that he is not a white supremacist or a racist.
“I was in shock. I was angry. President Biden doesn’t know my son, whatsoever,” Wendy Rittenhouse to Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “He did that for the votes. I was so angry for a while at him and what he did to my son.”
The verdict was reached while Ms. Psaki’s daily press briefing was occurring. She declined to weigh in on the case.
Obviously, this happened while I was out here,” she said. “Let me talk to the President and talk to our team and we will get to a statement as soon as we can.”
When asked about the judge’s ruling that the people who were shot by Rittenhouse should not be referred to in court as victims, Ms. Psaki declined to comment.
“I’m not going to give an assessment of this from here,” she said. “Let us get you a statement as soon as we can.”
Mr. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on charges related to his shooting of three men while fleeing a group of attackers. He fatally shot two of the men and injured a third.
The shooting happened during the August 2020 riots that took place in Kenosha during riots in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was left partially paralyzed after being shot by a White police officer during a domestic disturbance call.