News & Politics

[UPDATED] 'Angry' Joe Biden Reacts to Rittenhouse Verdict

Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

Update 3:45 p.m.: Moments ago, the White House released a full statement on the Rittenhouse verdict:

While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.  I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.

I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law.  Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.  The White House and Federal authorities have been in contact with Governor Evers’s office to prepare for any outcome in this case, and I have spoken with the Governor this afternoon and offered support and any assistance needed to ensure public safety.

Original story: 

Joe Biden, fresh off of his colonoscopy, returned to the White House Friday afternoon after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was announced and was asked about it by the White House press pool.

“I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said. “The jury system works and we have to abide by it.”

He declined to answer where he stands on equating Rittenhouse to white supremacists last year.

During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden tweeted a video featuring a photo of Kyle Rittenhouse, falsely accusing Trump of refusing to “disavow white supremacists.”

Last week, Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother blasted Joe Biden for defaming her son and accused him of doing it in order to win votes for his presidential campaign.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confronted about this last week during a press briefing.

“Why did President Biden suggest that Kyle Rittenhouse, on trial in Kenosha, is a white supremacist?” asked Fox News’ Peter Doocy.

“I’m not going to speak to right now is anything about an ongoing trial nor the president’s past comments,” Psaki replied, avoiding the question. “What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons.”

When she refused to answer the question again, Doocy pointed out that Biden “has spoken to it already” and he also mentioned what Rittenhouse’s mother had said about Biden to Sean Hannity.

“Kyle Rittenhouse’s mom came out saying that the president defamed her son and that claims — she claims that when the president suggested her son is a white supremacist, he was doing that to win votes,” Doocy explained. “Is that what happened?”

“I just have nothing more to speak to an ongoing case where the closing arguments were just made.”

“Joe Biden said things that were so incorrect and so untrue,” said Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards after the verdict was read. “At least he respects the jury verdict.”

Joe Biden would do good to apologize for his past characterization of Rittenhouse as a white supremacist. I’m not holding my breath, but the next question might be whether Rittenhouse’s attorneys will seek any damages from Biden.

A full statement from Biden is expected to be issued later.