Out of former Vice President Joe Biden’s many missteps related to Tuesday night’s debate, the worst appears to still be causing growing outrage.
Worse yet, the snowballing mistake could soon land the Democratic nominee in some serious legal trouble.
The problems for Biden began after debate moderator Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump to denounce white supremacists and militias, lumping a hateful ideology in with many people who are simply expressing their Second Amendment rights.
“Are you willing tonight,” Wallace said, “to condemn white supremacists and militia group 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?”
Trump, rightfully, asked for a clarification on exactly who he was supposed to be denouncing.
After all, he argued, most of the violence he was aware of was from the political left, not the right.
Biden pushed for Trump to simply disavow the groups before Wallace eventually specified he was asking about white supremacists and right-wing militias.
For his seemingly loaded questions and apparent hostile targeting of Trump that threw gasoline on an already chaotic debate, Wallace is facing backlash from his colleagues at Fox News.
Biden was quick to take advantage of the dizzying back-and-forth. On Wednesday morning, the candidate’s Twitter account posted a video attacking Trump for his response to the question.
The clip plays Wallace’s attempt to get Trump to denounce white supremacists and right-wing militias over footage from 2017’s Unite the Right rally and images from this year’s civil unrest.
As Wallace’s voice mentions Kenosha, an image of Kyle Rittenhouse flashes across the screen of Biden’s video.
“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,” the caption of the tweet reads.
Watch the full clip below:
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. pic.twitter.com/Q3VZTW1vUV
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who’s accused of shooting three people — killing two — during the unrest in Kenosha, is now being charged with first-degree homicide, though he argues that he was acting in self-defense.
Members of the young man’s legal defense team quickly took action against Biden’s false characterization of Rittenhouse as a white supremacist, demanding a retraction from the former vice president.
L. Lin Wood, one attorney on the team, confirmed that a “formal demand for public retraction is being prepared for” the Biden campaign.
Formal demand for public retraction is being prepared for Biden/Harris Campaign on behalf of Kyle Rittenhouse.
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) September 30, 2020
Biden must “immediately retract his false accusation that Kyle is a white supremacist & militia member responsible for violence in Kenosha,” Wood wrote.
The demands are growing as attorneys and the general public alike voice their desire for Biden to be held accountable.
Marina Medvin, another member of Rittenhouse’s defense team, characterized Biden’s comments as “defamatory,” meaning there could be some real legal trouble in store for the Democratic nominee.
Response to Joe Biden’s defamatory allegation that my client Kyle Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist” — pic.twitter.com/m2QUJ25rAt
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) September 30, 2020
No clear evidence has emerged that Rittenhouse, whose legal battle over the killings is just now beginning, is a white supremacist or that he came to Kenosha to kill protesters.
Rittenhouse, Medvin asserted, came to the protests with a medic kit, and was actively looked to assist injured protesters.
Unless Biden wants the country to assume he operates under a presumed-guilty-until-proven-innocent mindset, a public retraction and a sincere apology are looking like the candidate’s best bet going forward.
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