Trump, as we know from history and as many of you covered, didn't just refuse to condemn militia groups on the debate stage, he actively encouraged them throughout his presidency. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Trump, as we know from history and as many of you covered, didn't just refuse to condemn militia groups on the debate stage, he actively encouraged them throughout his presidency. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Psaki dismisses question about Biden apologizing to Kyle Rittenhouse, who accused the president of 'defaming' him
  • Jen Psaki dismissed a question about President Biden apologizing to Kyle Rittenhouse over a campaign video last year he was briefly featured in.
  • "The president believes in condemning hatred, division and violence. That's exactly what was done in that video," Psaki told reporters.
  • The comments come after Rittenhouse accused Biden of "defaming" him.
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki during a press briefing if Biden "would ever apologize" to Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old who last week was acquitted of all charges and found not guilty of fatally shooting two men and injuring a third during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25 last year.

Psaki sought to clarify that the September 30, 2020 campaign video, which Rittenhouse is briefly featured in, was meant to depict how then-President Donald Trump had refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups during a presidential debate the night before.

"This is about a campaign video released last year that used President Trump's own words during a debate as he refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups," Psaki said. "And President Trump, as we know from history and as many of you covered, didn't just refuse to condemn militia groups on the debate stage, he actively encouraged them throughout his presidency.

"What we've seen are the tragic consequences of that, when people think it's OK to take the law into their own hands instead of allowing law enforcement to do its job," she added. "The president believes in condemning hatred, division and violence. That's exactly what was done in that video."

The 50-second campaign ad in question shows a supercut of white supremacists and militia groups overlayed with audio of presidential debate moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, asking Trump to condemn the groups during a presidential debate on September 29 last year. A brief image of Rittenhouse carrying a rifle in Kenosha can be seen in the video. Footage of Trump's response, in which he called on the far-right extremist group Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," is also included.


In a Fox News interview on Monday, Rittenhouse accused Biden of "defaming" him over the video.

"Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you, I would urge you to go back and watch the trial and understand the facts before you make a statement," Rittenhouse said.

Host Tucker Carlson went on to tell Rittenhouse that it's not a "small thing" to be called a white supremacist, to which Rittenhouse replied: "It's actual malice, defaming my character, for him to say something like that."

When Doocy brought up Rittenhouse's remarks to Psaki on Tuesday, the press secretary referred him to Biden's statement on the verdict.

"The president spoke to the verdict last week. He has obviously condemned the hatred and division and violence we've seen around the country by groups like the Proud Boys. And groups that that individual has posed in photos with," Psaki said.

Psaki appeared to be referencing a January 2021 photo, when prosecutors in Kenosha obtained footage of Rittenhouse at a bar posing with members of the Proud Boys and flashing an "OK" hand gesture that has been used by some white supremacists. Rittenhouse's lawyers alleged that the teen did not know who the men were, nor what the group was, and was unfamiliar with the hand symbol's meaning to white supremacists. The judge noted that the prosecution did not find any evidence of Rittenhouse's affiliation with a white supremacist group.

Biden responded last week to Rittenhouse's verdict, telling reporters: "I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we have to abide by it."

He also followed up with a written statement, calling on Americans to "to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law."

"While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken," Biden said. "I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I know that we're not going to heal our country's wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law."
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/psaki-dismisses-question-about-biden-apologizing-to-kyle-rittenhouse-2021-11