After days of refusing to denounce or comment on the violence carried out by Trump supporters, President Donald Trump broke his silence only to defend their violent actions.
At a Monday press briefing, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins asked the president why he’s denouncing former Vice President Joe Biden for not mentioning left-wing violence while not mentioning right-wing violence, including Trump supporters shooting paintball guns at Black Lives Matter protests.
Trump initially tried to claim the right-wing demonstrators’ behavior wasn’t violent, saying that they had a paintball gun and that “paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets.”
Trump: Paint is not bullets. Your supporters and they are your supporters indeed, shot a young gentleman and killed him… These people, they protested peacefully, they went in very peacefully pic.twitter.com/IhJQk6ndWJ
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) August 31, 2020
But then Collins quickly reminded him of Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen who is facing first-degree homicide charges for killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this past week when he armed himself with an AR-15 during protests. Trump’s reaction was to defend him.
“That was an interesting situation,” Trump said of the murders.
“He was trying to get away from them … and then they very violently attacked him,” Trump said. He added that “He probably would’ve been killed,” but that “it’s under investigation.”
Trump asked about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-yr-old arrested after 2 people were fatally shot during riot:
"That was an interesting situation… He was trying to get away from them, I guess … & he fell & then they very violently attacked him…he probably would've been killed." pic.twitter.com/oSW0ZpOd4W
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 31, 2020
Multiple videos shared on social media this week reportedly show Rittenhouse being involved in a fight in which he is seen punching a young woman.
“One of the men who shot one of the videos confirmed its authenticity to The Journal Times and, in the video, the teen throwing the punches is wearing the same red, white and blue crocs Rittenhouse is shown wearing in a photo that was posted on Facebook of himself holding a gun,” the newspaper reports. “Facebook has since blocked all searches on its site for the name ‘Kyle Rittenhouse,’ but videos and posts can still be searched on Twitter.”