Column: Trump’s Kenosha statements are false

Logan Raschke

President Donald Trump defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with murder who is accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring one at Kenosha, Wisconsin during a violent demonstration, while simultaneously spreading misinformation about what happened in the first place.

If anyone wasn’t sure if Trump’s reckless misstatements pose threats to our nation’s security on a daily basis, now there is no debate.

On Tuesday, I read a headline in the Associated Press and felt some sudden relief. The headline reads “Trump visits Kenosha, calls violence ‘domestic terrorism.’”

I figured he was referring to Rittenhouse, who traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin with a Smith & Wesson AR-15-style .223 caliber rifle and a 30-round magazine, as charges allege, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Oh, how gullible I can be.

No, Trump said “domestic terror” is to blame for the violent demonstrations, according to the Associated Press. He didn’t mention the actual cause for the Kenosha demonstrations: the Aug. 23 shooting of unarmed Jacob Blake, who is now hospitalized for his injuries.

Trump continued to justify Rittenhouse’s shootings, explaining it seemed to be an instance of self-defense.

According to the Associated Press, this is what Trump said during a news conference on Monday: “… And he (Rittenhouse) fell, and then they very violently attacked him … But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — I — he probably would have been killed.”

According to the criminal complaint from prosecutors, Joseph Rosenbaum was shot and killed first after he followed Rittenhouse, threw a plastic bag at him and tried to take the gun.

After this happened, Rittenhouse tripped, according to the footage. This is when Anthony Huber, who carried a skateboard, was shot and killed after attempting to take away his weapon, according to the criminal complaint.

However, Trump said Rittenhouse was already down and at a dangerous disadvantage when “they,” assuming he meant Rosenbaum and Huber, attacked him. This is factually untrue as footage suggests the first alleged killing happened when Rittenhouse was still on foot. The second “attack,” as Trump puts it, or the second attempt to take the weapon, as prosecutors put it, happened after Rittenhouse tripped.

By justifying Rittenhouse’s actions, Trump is consequently telling the rest of the nation that attending a violent demonstration with a gun and adding more unrest, insanity and threats to safety, and possibly even killing people in the process, is OK.

If you don’t see how this is extremely dangerous, I don’t know how to persuade you otherwise.

The least Trump could have done was tell Americans not to come to protests, riots and other demonstrations, violent or not, with any kind of gun. He could have at least waited for more information to come out during the trial before making his assessment. He could have at least got the facts right.

 

Logan Raschke is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]