News & Politics

Psaki Doubles Down on Biden's Rittenhouse Smear

Psaki Doubles Down on Biden's Rittenhouse Smear
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The White House is refusing to apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse for Joe Biden falsely linking Rittenhouse to white supremacists last year.

“Would the president ever apologize to the acquitted Kenosha shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, for suggesting online and on TV that he is a white supremacist?” Peter Doocy of Fox News asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday.

“Well, let’s be clear what we’re talking about here,” Psaki 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.”

This, of course, is false. Trump has condemned white supremacists many times (has Biden?), but, regardless, this has nothing to do with Biden equating Rittenhouse with white supremacists in the video.

“So, you know, what we’ve seen are the tragic consequences of that when people think it’s okay 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. That’s exactly what was done in that video.” Psaki added, again not answering the actual question.

“But if — you’re saying that it was just a campaign video; it wasn’t,” Doocy pointed out. “The president also gave an interview where he said this: ‘[Rittenhouse] was part of a militia coming out of… Illinois.  Have you ever heard this President’ — referring to Trump — ‘say one negative thing about white supremacists?’ These are all things — none of this was proven in the trial.”

Doocy added, “And Kyle Rittenhouse is saying that the president had ‘actual malice’ in ‘defaming [his] character.’ Is that what happened here?”

“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. But beyond that, I’ll leave it to his comments around the verdict.”

I’m not sure if Psaki knows that the Proud Boys’ international chairman is an Afro-Cuban or not, but refusing to acknowledge that Biden falsely called Rittenhouse a white supremacist doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Biden could learn the hard way that he can’t pretend it didn’t happen should Rittenhouse choose to sue Biden for defamation, as he suggested might happen.

Related: Did Jen Psaki Admit Biden Doesn’t Plan to Run in 2024?