White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say whether President Joe Biden would offer an apology after labeling Kyle Rittenhouse a “white supremacist,” instead demurring to a more general condemnation of “hatred.”
Asked whether the president would apologize for allegedly defaming the 18-year-old in a campaign video issued last year, Psaki danced around the issue – briefly changing the subject to ex-President Donald Trump – but ultimately hinted that no apology would be forthcoming.
“Well let’s be clear what we’re talking about here: This is about a campaign video released last year that used President Trump’s own words during a debate as he refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups,” Psaki said, going on to denounce Trump for allegedly encouraging “militia groups” during his term in office.
White House press sec. Psaki asked if Pres. Biden would apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse for previous comments, campaign video after acquittal: “The president believes in condemning hatred, division and violence. That’s exactly what was done in that video.” https://t.co/pdWeDfZjgD pic.twitter.com/nuxC6yEwj8
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 23, 2021
Eventually, Psaki circled back to Rittenhouse, simply reiterating that Biden had “spoke to” the teen’s acquittal this week on murder charges filed after he shot two people dead and injured another during protests and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
“[Biden] has obviously condemned the hatred and division and violence we’ve seen around the country by groups like the Proud Boys, and groups that [Rittenhouse] has posed in photos with,” she continued.
In his first interview since his trial concluded earlier this week, Rittenhouse told Fox’s Tucker Carlson that Biden defamed his character with the campaign video, saying the then-presidential candidate should have learned the facts of the case before weighing in with inflammatory rhetoric.
Prosecutors in Rittenhouse’s case alleged that he showed up to the protest in Kenosha to “provoke” violence, while his defense insisted he used his weapon to protect his own life, observing that Rittenhouse was fleeing attackers when he fired his AR-15. After several days of deliberations and fears of civil unrest in the event of an acquittal, jurors ultimately decided Rittenhouse was not guilty of all charges filed, prompting a series of protests around the US.
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