Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday offered a controversial defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with homicide in the shooting deaths of two people amid unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Speaking during an interview with Extra host Rachel Lindsay, the president’s oldest son called for due process in Rittenhouse’s case, claiming, "we all do stupid things at 17."
Asked by Lindsay why the Trump administration hasn't condemned the shooting, which also left one person injured, Trump Jr. said, "we're waiting for due process. We're not jumping to a conclusion." Putting himself "in Kyle Rittenhouse('s shoes)," Trump Jr. acknowledged, "maybe I shouldn't have been there," explaining, "he's a young kid. I don't want 17-year-olds running around the street with AR-15s." He went on to offer a startling defense of Rittenhouse, stating, "maybe I wouldn't have put myself in that situation. Who knows? But we all do stupid things at 17."
Lindsay countered those remarks by claiming, "I think it's a little bit beyond stupid," to which Trump Jr. relented, "really stupid, fine." He reiterated that "we all have to let that process play out and let due process take its course."
Rittenhouse was charged earlier this month with five criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, after he traveled from Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha with an AR-15 style weapon. According to a criminal complaint, the teen first opened fire after Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse and tried to grab his gun. He opened fire a second time after he tripped and fell to the ground while running away, shooting and killing Anthony Huber, 26, and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, 26. Rittenhouse's attorneys have claimed that the 17-year-old was acting in self-defense at the protests, an idea that President Donald Trump seemed to support earlier this month.
Speaking with reporters during a White House press conference, the president suggested that the protesters were the instigators and Rittenhouse was simply defending himself, claiming that the teen was "trying to get away from them" and protesters "violently attacked him." Although the president noted that the case was "under investigation," he stated that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense, stating that he "probably would've been killed" if he had not fired his weapon.
During his Tuesday interview Trump Jr., who was promoting his book Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats' Defense of the Indefensible, also addressed his father’s recent visit to Kenosha, where he did not meet with Jacob Blake, the Black man shot seven times in the back by a police officer, but instead met with local law enforcement. Trump Jr. clarified that "those police he was speaking to weren't involved in that incident," but were rather "involved in quelling riots and businesses being burned down, indiscriminately."