Biden backs down on ‘white supremacist’ talk after Rittenhouse mentions defamation

Last Friday saw a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin acquit Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges stemming from a shooting that took place during a night of brutal riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. Following the incident, Rittenhouse was smeared as a violent, racist extremist by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his allies in the media.

However, according to the Washington Examiner, Biden has become considerably less bold after speculation is running rampant that Rittenhouse and his attorneys are building defamation lawsuits, including one possibly against Biden. 

Biden published a tweet last September that read, “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.”

Also included was a video montage that featured footage from the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia along with an image of Rittenhouse walking the Kenosha streets with his AR-style rifle.

Psaki’s spin

The Washington Examiner noted that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at a press conference Tuesday if the president still stands by his previous suggestion that Rittenhouse is a white supremacist.

Rather than address the issue directly, Psaki responded by launching into a long list of spin replies that focused instead on former President Donald Trump.

“Well, let’s be clear what we’re talking about here,” she began. “This is about a campaign video released last year that used President Trump’s own words during a debate as he refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups, and President Trump, as we know from history, and as many of you covered, didn’t just refuse to condemn militia groups on the debate stage — he actively encouraged them throughout his presidency.”

“So, you know, what we’ve seen are the tragic consequences of that when people think it’s OK to take the law into their own hands, instead of allowing law enforcement to do its job, and the president believes in condemning hatred, division, and violence,” Psaki continued. That’s exactly what was done in that video.”

“I have really good lawyers”

A reporter then reminded Pskai that Biden had, at one point, said in a television interview that Rittenhouse “was part of a militia coming out of Illinois.”

“The president spoke to the verdict last week,” Psaki replied. “He has obviously condemned the hatred and division and violence we’ve seen around the country by groups like the Proud Boys and groups that that individual has posed in photos with. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to his comments around the verdict.”

Psaki’s reticence may have something to do with an interview that Rittenhouse conducted the day before with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

During that interview, Rittenhouse spoke of his “really good lawyers” who are working on defamation suits against those he says have defamed him. At one point, he specifically mentioned Biden, saying that the president had spoken with “actual malice,” which is the proper legal precedent needed for such a lawsuit.

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