Kyle Rittenhouse — who fatally shot two rioters and injured a third in self-defense during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020 — became a trending topic on Twitter on Monday.
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By 12:30 p.m. EST, “Kyle Rittenhouse” has been tweeted over 35,000 times. The acquitted teen became a trending topic in Twitter’s “Politics” category.
While it is unclear exactly what sparked the trend, many tweets took aim at Rittenhouse’s June interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, during which Rittenhouse accused the media of making it hard for him to “live a normal life” by defaming him as a murderer.
“We’re going to make the media pay for what they did to me,” Rittenhouse said at the time. “They made it hard for me to live a normal life. I can’t go out into public. I can’t go to the store. It’s hard for me to go anywhere without security. Doing basic things like taking my dog to the dog park is difficult, so they made it really difficult to be normal.”
Author John Pavlovitz criticized Rittenhouse, tweeting that he “could have had a normal life” but he “chose to play cowboy” during the 2020 riot and is “going to have to live with that.”
Writer Jamal Igle tweeted, “The media didn’t make it hard for Kyle Rittenhouse to live a normal life. Kyle Rittenhouse made it hard for Kyle Rittenhouse to live a normal life.”
“Kyle Rittenhouse can’t seem to get a grasp on reality. He murdered two people, yet somehow he thinks he’s the victim in this scenario and he claims that he’s being ‘defamed’ by the media?! GTFOH That crybaby punk belongs in prison,” wrote Twitter user KuckelmanAshley.
Others expressed their support for Rittenhouse.
Nick Adams, president of the Foundation for Liberty & American Greatness (FLAG), tweeted, “Kyle Rittenhouse is the perfect role model for every young American. He loves his country, gives back to his community, and supports law and order.”
“If Democrats had power completely unfettered, you’d be in prison for protecting yourself. #KyleRittenhouse,” comedian and podcaster Steven Crowder tweeted.
“They despise Kyle Rittenhouse because he represents the individual’s victory over the mob,” wrote Twitter user Unscripted Mike.
President Joe Biden was among the prominent public figures to criticize Rittenhouse in the wake of the riot. In Sept. 2020, just one month after Rittenhouse’s deadly act of self-defense, Biden implied Rittenhouse was a white supremacist in an official campaign advertisement.
Then-candidate Biden shared the ad, which contained an image of Rittenhouse, on Twitter, writing, “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 later said Biden calling him a “white supremacist” amounted to “actual malice” that defamed his character.
“What did you make of the President of the United States calling you a ‘white supremacist?’” Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Rittenhouse at the time.
“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,” Rittenhouse said.