Republicans heap praise on Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as jury deliberates

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GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said he'd reach out to the Rittenhouse to see if 'he'd be interested in helping the country in additional ways.'

A slew of Republican politicians is trying to turn Kyle Rittenhouse into their latest right-wing celebrity, heaping him with praise, and at least in one case, even offering him a job as the jury deliberates in his high-profile murder trial.

Rittenhouse faces the potential of life in prison for a litany of charges — including reckless and intentional homicide and recklessly endangering safety — after he shot three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer

Two of the three people Rittenhouse shot amid protests on Aug. 25, 2020, died from their injuries, and one was injured. Rittenhouse had traveled from his Illinois residence, located a mile south of Wisconsin, to Kenosha to be present during protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. In a video created that day prior to Rittenhouse firing his weapon, the teen said he was in Kenosha to protect a car dealership. He has since pleaded not guilty to all charges, saying on the stand that he was acting in self-defense.

While the jury deliberates, many GOP lawmakers have already declared Rittenhouse to be innocent, lionizing the teenager who walked the streets of Kenosha carrying an AR-15 style rifle.

In an appearance on Newsmax Wednesday night, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that if Rittenhouse is acquitted he may offer him a job.

"Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern," Gaetz said. "We may reach out to him and see if he'd be interested in helping the country in additional ways."

In recent days, other GOP lawmakers have made similar comments.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) hoped Rittenhouse would be found innocent.

"If there is any chance America is still the country that our founders created, then Kyle Rittenhouse will be found innocent," Greene tweeted on Tuesday.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said Rittenhouse's actions were justified.

"Kyle Rittenhouse did what any of us would have done in his situation: Defend ourselves," Cawthorn tweeted.

Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) said he is "praying" for Rittenhouse, while Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) declared Rittenhouse to be "innocent."

GOP candidates have also praised the teenager.

Republican J.D. Vance, the "Hillbilly Elegy" writer running for Senate seat in Ohio, painted Rittenhouse as a justified vigilante looking to protect his "community," even as Rittenhouse does not reside in Kenosha or anywhere else in the state of Wisconsin.

"Our leaders abandoned this kid's community to lawless thug rioters, and he did something about it, and now a lawless thug prosecutor is trying to destroy his life," Vance tweeted.

Another Ohio Republican, House candidate J.R. Majewski, depicted Rittenhouse as Captain America — a comic book superhero who opposes fascism.

As of now, it's unclear when the jury will reach a verdict in the case. It is now on its third day of deliberations.

However, the state of Wisconsin is bracing for unrest no matter the outcome, with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers placing 500 National Guard troops on standby to respond in case local law enforcement needs back up.

This piece has been updated to clarify details surrounding the events in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.