Donald Trump presides over an America in chaos. Police continue to shoot and kill Black people in the streets, protests rage, and right-wing agitators descend on cities to violently “counter-protest,” transforming peaceful communities into burning warzones. The president refuses to offer any kind of leadership on these issues, preferring instead to rant about “law & order” while ridiculously blaming Democrats for the violence that’s occurring under his watch. He is in every sense the last person this country needs in the Oval Office right now.
The recent tragic shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin has prompted Trump to behave in his usual shameful, cynical fashion. The cops shot Blake numerous times in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down. The video of the incident ignited protests in the city and armed right-wingers traveled to Kenosha. One such right-winger, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, ended up shooting and killing two individuals and has been brought up on homicide charges.
Conservatives are already flocking to Rittenhouse’s support, claiming that he acted in self-defense. Such claims are obviously complicated by the fact that Rittenhouse illegally transported his AR-15 across state lines to inject himself into the heart of the unrest in Kenosha. Simply put, if he had stayed home instead of running off to show off his weapon and fulfill some kind of tough-guy militia fantasy the two people he killed would still be alive today. Regardless of the other details of the case, this harsh reality cannot be overlooked.
Today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked if Trump condemns Rittenhouse’s actions. In a normal political world, one where the president is something more than a cynical political operator pandering to right-wing kooks and racists, the White House would offer a simple response to such a question. McEnany could say that the president condemns all violence and that heavily armed children should not be driving into cities and shooting people. Instead, McEnany showcased her usual cowardice.
“Um, the president, um, is not going to again to weigh in on that,” she said. “Um, you can ask him this evening and he may weigh in further but at the moment he’s not weighing into that.”
It’s worth noting that Rittenhouse is a Trump supporter who attended at least one of the president’s rallies, so the administration’s reluctance to condemn his actions can be at least partially explained by that detail. More broadly, Trump clearly doesn’t want to alienate the bloodthirsty Republicans who are glad that two protestors have been killed. Maintaining their support is far more important to him than offering anything like moral leadership.
REPORTER: Does the president condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of shooting protesters?
McENANY: The president is not going to weigh in on that pic.twitter.com/MNaL1tkESx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 31, 2020
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