WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump says he met with Kyle Rittenhouse after the teen was found not guilty last week in the fatal shooting of two men and wounding of a third during protests in Kenosha, Wis., last year.
Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday night that Rittenhouse is “really a nice young man” and that he “got to know him a little bit.”
“He wanted to know if he could come over and say hello,” Trump said. “He was a fan, unlike the other guy.”
Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, was cleared on all five charges related to his actions on Aug. 25 of last year during protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.
The now-18-year-old was charged with reckless homicide in the slaying of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and intentional homicide in the death of Anthony Huber, 26. He also faced a charge of attempted intentional homicide for severely wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, a 27-year-old paramedic from suburban Milwaukee who was there that night volunteering his medical services, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety.
Trump defended Rittenhouse, saying, “What he went through, he should’ve — that was prosecutorial misconduct. He should not have had to suffer through a trial for that.”
“If he didn’t pull that trigger, that guy that put the gun to his head, in one quarter of a second he was going to pull the trigger,” Trump added. “Kyle would’ve been dead,”
Rittenhouse testified in his own defense last week and said all the shootings were acts of self-defense. He and other armed men said they went to Kenosha to protect private property during the protest.
Huber and Rosenbaum were not armed when Rittenhouse shot them, but Grosskreutz came toward him with a pistol in hand when Rittenhouse opened fire.
Rittenhouse also attempted to shoot an unknown person, known in court as “jump kick man,” who tried kicking the defendant in the face, and prosecutors said Rittenhouse could have wounded another man when he opened fire on Rosenbaum.