Former President Donald Trump commented at length on the not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse self-defense trial Friday during an interview on Fox News, where he praised the defendant, the judge and the jury.
Speaking to host Laura Ingraham, the former president praised the jury’s decision not to convict Rittenhouse, 18, on five counts, including first-degree intentional homicide. He equated the entire process to a political witch hunt.
“I think that it was a great decision,” Trump said of the verdict. “I was surprised it had to go this far. Somebody should have ended it earlier. And frankly, the case should have never been brought.”
“It was prosecutorial misconduct, in my opinion, and there’s plenty of it going on in this country right now. It was disgraceful,” he added of the three-week trial which ended just after jurors finished lunch on Friday.
Trump concluded that the jurors made the right decision under immense pressure, and called Rittenhouse a “poster boy” for “innocence [based] on self-defense.”
Rittenhouse in August of 2020 shot three men during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that erupted after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. During Rittenhouse’s first deadly encounter, the teen shot a man named Joseph Rosenbaum, whom jurors concluded was the aggressor after video evidence proved it.
After that shooting, the teen ran toward a police line, but was pursued heavily by an agitated crowd. After finding himself on the ground, Rittenhouse fired and missed at an unknown man. He then fired once at a man named Anthony Huber after he was struck over the head with a skateboard. Huber died from his injuries.
Finally, an armed man named Gaige Grosskreutz pointed a pistol directly at the teen. Rittenhouse opened fire on him. Grosskreutz was struck once in his right bicep.
The time elapsed, from the first shot fired at Rosenbaum until the moment Rittenhouse approached police to report he had just fired his rifle, was less than three minutes. Trump, who said he had seen the footage, said he believes that Rittenhouse would be dead if he had hesitated to shoot Grosskreutz.
“I think he would have been dead if he waited a quarter of a second when that gun was pointed at his head,” Trump said. “That guy was going to pull that trigger. … Less than a second [later] he would have been dead. There would not have been a trial, because they would not have tried the person who pulled the trigger. I was very happy to see it, a lot of people were happy to see it.”
“The prosecutors, what they did in order to try and win, instead of looking for justice, they were just looking for a win,” Trump said. “It was probably a political case, to a large extent. … This is a young man that should not have been prosecuted, based on every ounce of evidence that you looked at.”
Trump also told Ingraham he never had any doubt that Rittenhouse was acting to defend himself.
“When I saw that .. early on, I didn’t have to see it 15 different times — which, ultimately, you ended up seeing it probably 40 different times; it was all over. Just about everybody I knew, they said, ‘that’s self-defense.’ ” Trump said.
Trump also praised Judge Bruce Schroeder for giving Rittenhouse a fair trial, despite facing pressure from outside of the courtroom to help secure a conviction.
Friday was not the first time Trump has commented on the Rittenhouse case.
Six days after the shootings, on Aug. 31, 2020, Trump told reporters: “[Rittenhouse] was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like … I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”
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