Homeland Security Talking Points Sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse
The federal agency told officials to say he was there defending small business owners.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is calling for an oversight hearing to investigate an NBC News report that the Trump administration prepped federal law enforcement officials to provide a sympathetic description of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Illinois gunman charged with killing two protesters in Kenosha and wounding a third.
The network obtained a talking points document that suggested Department of Homeland Security officials, when responding to questions about Rittenhouse and the Aug. 25 shootings, should mention that he “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners.”
NBC reported that it was not certain whether the talking points were composed by the Homeland Security press office or if they came from the White House.
The network also reported on Homeland Security talking points that said media were incorrectly labeling the rightwing group Patriot Prayer as racists, following confrontations in Portland, Ore., between Patriot Prayer and local protesters.
“Three former Homeland Security officials, two of whom worked for Republican administrations, said it was unusual for law enforcement officials to be instructed to weigh in on a case involving a particular group or individual before investigations had concluded,” NBC News reported.
“It is as unprecedented as it is wrong,” Peter Boogaard, an Obama administration Homeland Security spokesman, told the network.
According to NBC, the talking points instructed officials to emphasize the importance of law and order: “This is also why we need to stop the violence in our cities. Chaotic and violent situations lead to chaotic, violent and tragic outcomes. Everyone needs law and order.”
“Law and order” is a catchphrase that has become a centerpiece of the campaign to reelect President Donald Trump.
The network said proposed statements in the Rittenhouse talking points document included the following:
- “Kyle was seen being chased and attacked by rioters before allegedly shooting three of them, killing two.”
- “Subsequent video has emerged reportedly showing that there were ‘multiple gunmen’ involved, which would lend more credence to the self-defense claims.”
- An instruction for officials asked about Rittenhouse to say they will not comment on an ongoing investigation — but, also, that they should state: “What I will say is that Rittenhouse, just like everyone else in America, is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a fair trial based on all the facts, not just the ones that support a certain narrative. This is why we try the accused in the court of law, not the star chamber of public opinion.”
Rittenhouse has been charged with two felony counts of homicide. He remains in Illinois while his lawyers contest extradition to Wisconsin.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- Back in the News: The Return of Kyle Rittenhouse - Bruce Murphy - Feb 28th, 2022
- Op Ed: Rittenhouse Verdict Gives New Defense For Killing - Ion Meyn - Dec 20th, 2021
- Rittenhouse No Longer Enrolled at College - Henry Redman - Dec 1st, 2021
- Data Wonk: Rittenhouse Feared His Rifle Endangered Him - Bruce Thompson - Nov 24th, 2021
- Rittenhouse Says ‘Self-Defense Was On Trial’ - Shawn Johnson - Nov 23rd, 2021
- Murphy’s Law: After Rittenhouse, Expect More Vigilantes - Bruce Murphy - Nov 22nd, 2021
- Rep. Robyn Vining: Statement on Rittenhouse Verdict - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Nov 19th, 2021
- Attorney General Kaul Statement on the Verdict in Wisconsin v. Rittenhouse - Wisconsin Department of Justice - Nov 19th, 2021
- Supervisor Taylor Statement on the Rittenhouse Verdict - Sup. Sequanna Taylor - Nov 19th, 2021
- Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty on All Counts - WPR Staff - Nov 19th, 2021
Read more about Kenosha Shooting here