Trump says shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse “was in very big trouble”

President Trump on Monday declined to denounce suspected vigilante shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who has been arrested and accused of killing two people during the protests in Wisconsin. Instead, the president said at a news conference Monday that Rittenhouse “probably would have been killed” if he didn’t fire his gun. 

Rittenhouse, who is also alleged to be a supporter of the president, is awaiting murder charges. 

“We’re looking at all of it,” Mr. Trump said, when he was asked by a reporter if he would condemn the violence allegedly caused by Rittenhouse. “That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. He was trying to get away from them, I guess, looks like. And he fell and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now, and it’s under investigation, but I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed. It’s under investigation.”

The president said he would rather police handle situations, rather than random individuals, but defended police, who he said sometimes “choke” in tough circumstances.

“I’d like to see law enforcement take care of everything. I think everything should be taken care of, law enforcement. But again, we have to give our cops back, our police back, their dignity, their respect,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re very talented people, they’re strong they’re tough they can do the job, but we’ve taken it away. We don’t want to have, when somebody makes a mistake, he chokes. Or in some cases you have bad cops, we have to take care of that. In other cases, they choke. They’re under, they have a quarter of a second. A quarter of a second to make a decision.” 

Mr. Trump is visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, in the wake of Jacob Blake’s death and the ensuing protests and violence. 

The president’s brief news conference, which ended after questions about Rittenhouse, came shortly after Democratic nominee Joe Biden delivered a speech condemning the violence across American cities and blaming Mr. Trump for fanning the flames. 

“Fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames, rather than fighting the flames,” Biden said in his speech in Pittsburgh. “But we must not burn. We have to build. This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”

Mr. Trump claimed Biden was blaming police more than protesters for the state of American cities. 

“Just watched what Biden had to say. To me, he’s blaming the Police far more than he’s blaming the Rioters, Anarchists, Agitators, and Looters, which he could never blame or he would lose the Radical Left Bernie supports!” the president tweeted. 

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