Politics

Jen Psaki shuts down Fox reporter by reminding him that vigilante violence is bad

Press Secretary Jen Psaki answers questions from members of the press Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chandler West)
Press Secretary Jen Psaki answers questions from members of the press Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chandler West)Photo: White House

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a Fox News reporter who was trying to get her to debate whether an alleged killer is a “white supremacist” by reminding him that vigilante violence is bad.

Fox’s Peter Doocy said that Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother is angry that President Joe Biden called her son a white supremacist, even though Biden didn’t actually say that. Rittenhouse killed two people and injured a third when he went to a protest for Black lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year with an AR-15 rifle, and he is currently on trial for murder and other charges.

Related: Jen Psaki calls the record number of trans people murdered in 2021 so far “devastating”

Wendy Rittenhouse went on Sean Hannity’s show this weekend and complained about Biden tweeting a campaign video in September 2020 that made a very tangential reference to her son.

The video included audio from a debate between Biden and Donald Trump where journalist Chris Wallace asked Trump “to condemn white supremacists and militia groups… as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland.”

Trump refused and instead said that his message for white supremacists is “Stand back and stand by.”

Biden tweeted the video saying, “The President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night.” Biden did not mention Rittenhouse or even Kenosha, only using the expression “white supremacists” because that was what Wallace said and what Trump was responding to.

But that didn’t stop Doocy from asking Psaki about it over a year later to accuse Biden of calling Rittenhouse a “white supremacist.”

“Why did President Biden suggest that Kyle Rittenhouse, on trial in Kenosha, is a white supremacist?” Doocy asked Psaki today.

Psaki said that she couldn’t talk about “an ongoing trial,” and then she brought Doocy attention where it needed to be: vigilante violence kills, even if the alleged killer’s mother defends her child.

“What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have – broadly speaking – vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons,” she said. “We shouldn’t have opportunists corrupting peaceful protests by rioting and burning down the communities they claim to represent anywhere in the country.”

Doocy pushed Psaki, saying “the president had spoken to it already and his mom now, Kyle Rittenhouse’s mom came out saying that the president has defamed her son.” Doocy didn’t mention that Biden’s tweet wasn’t specifically about Rittenhouse and that it was sent over a year before the trial started.

“I just have nothing more to speak to in an ongoing case,” Psaki said, ending the discussion.

Rittenhouse has become a hero to certain segments of the right because he allegedly killed people at a protest for Black lives. Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said that Rittenhouse is “is more of a man” than the liberals who think that shooting and killing people with assault weapons is bad.

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