Kyle Rittenhouse has assured that his case “has nothing to do with race” in an interview with Fox News television presenter Tucker Carlson, The statements of the 18-year-old, who last Friday was acquitted by a jury of killing two people and injuring a third can be gasoline in the fire of the controversy that his trial has created. Suited and collected, Rittenhouse has told Carlson, the star host of Rupert Murdoch’s network, that he is not racist and supports the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
It had not been more than a few hours since Rittenhouse’s not guilty verdict was known when Fox announced an interview with the teenager for this Monday at 8:00 p.m. (US East Coast time). As reported by CNN last weekend, Carlson had guaranteed exclusive access to the young man and his team of lawyers during the trial. The settlement wasn’t made public until after the verdict came out from a Wisconsin jury.
“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race, ”Rittenhouse tells the presenter. “It had to do with the right to self-defense,” the 17-year-old told him when on August 25, 2020, he killed two white men in the city of Kenosha, in whose streets people were clamoring against the shooting of the police who had received from behind Jacob Blake, an African American who resisted arrest. Carlson defined Rittenhouse at the beginning of his program as a “bright, decent and hardworking” young man.
Armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, the young man who since he was a child revered the forces of order, traveled the little more than 30 kilometers by car that separated his home in Antioch (Illinois) from neighboring Kenosha (Wisconsin) with the intention to protect private property from possible damage. During the eight days that the process lasted, the prosecution sought to define Rittenhouse in the eyes of the jury as a vigilante seeking revenge against looters and protesters who were protesting against the police. The young man’s lawyers argued that Rittenhouse turned to Kenosha in an act of patriotism to help his community and was forced, in order to defend his life, to fatally shoot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, Anthony Huber, 26, and wound Gaige Grosskreutz, also 26 years old.
Rittenhouse has drawn the attention of conservative groups and legislators, some of whom are on the far right of the Republican Party, and who have celebrated his acquittal. Two controversial Republican congressmen, Madison Cawthorn and Matthew Gaetz, offered him an intern position on their team. On Sunday, Christina Pushaw, press officer for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, welcomed Rittenhouse via Twitter to the ‘Free State’ of Florida. For defenders of the Second Amendment, Rittenhouse was their rallying cry. His lawyers deny that he is a white supremacist but the teenager is associated with members of the far-right group Proud Boys.
Subscribe here to the newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region
Join now EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits