Why Kyle Rittenhouse, Acquitted of Double Murder, Became America’s Right-Wing Hero

November 26, 2021 5:24 pm, changed to November 26, 2021 6:07 pm

A week ago, a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse “not guilty” on five counts. An 18-year-old teenager was charged with murder. On August 25, 2020, he joined gunmen who came to “protect” the business when riots broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American, by a white police officer. seven bullets in the back. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, Rittenhouse opened fire in confusing circumstances, killing two people and wounding a third. The jury ruled that he acted in self-defense.

If Joe Biden, after the announcement of the verdict, said that he was “alarmed and angry,” then his predecessor Donald Trump, for his part, congratulated the young man in a press release. Not surprising, according to opinion polls. According to a November 18 YouGov poll, only 15% of Republicans believe Kyle Rittenhouse should be convicted of murder. Conversely, more than three-quarters of Democrats (76%) thought so.

Symbol of conservative values

Days after the shooting, Trump, while still president, also refused to condemn Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions, feeling that he “probably would have been killed” had he not opened fire. This week, the billionaire received a young man at his Florida home at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

There is nothing surprising in this new provocation, since even before the verdict was announced, the American right took possession of the object in order to turn it into a totem. During the trial, Fox News celebrity anchors supported the young man, saying he was a symbol of an alleged attack on conservative values ​​in the US. “This is what happens when media influencers in Washington DC […] Hurry up to judge, – said Sean Hannity. – And, unfortunately, it happens again and again with the same characters. media crowd […] wrong and innocent […] pay the price.”

“He comes from one of the least privileged sections of our society,” said Tucker Carlson, also a Fox news anchor. “He just wanted to stop violent lunatics from setting cars on fire. In America, where he grew up, it is considered virtuous,” he added, playing along with conservative voters. The same for the browser of that same populist New York Post Miranda Devine, who saw this as a sign of class disrespect. “Wealthy elites […] harass white working class son raised by a single mother because they don’t see him as a complete person,” she tweeted.

Interrogated before Politico’s verdict, Charlie Kirk, a rising figure on the American right, for his part, noted that “this trial is not [concernait] not just Kyle. “It’s about the rule of law, the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment,” he said. [qui protège le droit d’être armé, NDLR], and the right to defend yourself when attacked by a violent mob. It’s about whether an American citizen will be entitled to an impartial jury of his peers who won’t succumb to threats of riot if he acquits an innocent man.” An entire political program.

Internship Offers and Congressional Medal

Therefore, a few elected Republicans supported the young man. “Perhaps he would have made a good congressional intern,” Florida Rep. Matt Goetz said the day before the verdict was announced. North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorne, who urged her supporters to “arm, be dangerous,” also offered him an internship. As for Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, he suggested that the young man receive a Medal of Honor from Congress. A few weeks ago, the same Gosar was reprimanded – a very rare sanction – for parodying in a video … the death of Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Finally, Kyle Rittenhouse received support from Nick Sandmann. In 2019, this 16-year-old rose to national prominence hours after he ran into a Native American activist in Washington D.C. wearing a red cap with the words “Make America Great Again” on his head. Accused of racism and bullying, he has since sued half a dozen media outlets for defamation, denounced the destructiveness of “cancellation culture” and even spoke at the 2020 Republican convention. Donald Trump was already a symbol of “fake news and its diabolical nature.”

Throughout the trial, which highlighted America’s divisions over guns and the Black Lives Matter movement, he invoked self-defense.

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