Just days after his acquittal in a high-profile self-defense case, 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse met with former President Donald Trump at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Tuesday.
Trump revealed the meeting and photos during a Tuesday night interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, during which he said Rittenhouse had just left Mar-a-Lago, and described him as “a good young guy.”
“He came over with his mother,” Trump said. “Really a nice young man, and what he went through, that was prosecutorial misconduct. He should not have had to suffer through a trial for that.”
“I got to know him a little bit,” Trump said. “He called, wanted to know if he could come over and say hello because he was a fan, unlike the other guy.”
Trump said it was clear that Rittenhouse “would’ve been dead” if he hadn’t shot his attackers.
“He should never have been put through that,” Trump said. “That was prosecutorial misconduct, and it’s happening all over the United States right now with the Democrats.”
Rittenhouse was found “not guilty” on Friday of five felony charges: first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
After the Aug. 25, 2020 shooting gained national attention last year, Trump had defended Rittenhouse from the podium during a White House press briefing, saying at the time that Rittenhouse “probably would have been killed” if he had not exercised his right to self-defense.
At the time, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden released an official campaign advertisement featuring an image of Rittenhouse in a montage depicting white supremacists.
Biden had shared the ad on Twitter, writing last year, “There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night.”
Rittenhouse addressed Biden’s comments publicly for the first time during an interview with Tucker Carlson on Monday, calling Biden’s ad “actual malice” and defamation.
Ask if he could say something to Biden, Rittenhouse said, “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.”
Last year, then-17-year-old Rittenhouse was part of a group of volunteers who were asked to protect Kenosha businesses during protests that escalated into looting and rioting in reaction to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse also offered medical aid to injured protesters and helped clean graffiti from buildings, evidence showed.
During the riots, Rittenhouse fatally shot 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, who was seen on video chasing Rittenhouse and throwing a bag at him while threatening to kill him. Rittenhouse has maintained that he fired four shots at Rosenbaum after Rosenbaum attempted to grab the barrel of Rittenhouse’s rifle.
Rittenhouse fired one shot that killed 26-year-old Anthony Huber after Huber struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse also fired upon Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived with a wound to his arm. Grosskreutz had testified during the trial that Rittenhouse only fired at him when he aimed his handgun at Rittenhouse.
This article was updated to correct that Jacob Blake was shot, not killed, by police.