Progressives, Democrats erupt over Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal: 'This is disgusting'

Outside the courthouse after Rittenhouse not guilty verdict

Prominent Democrats, progressives, and left-leaning groups erupted Friday following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal on all charges in his closely watched trial in Kenosha, Wis., calling it a miscarriage of justice.

The 18-year-old Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all five counts, including the two most serious of intentional homicide, in last year’s shootings during violent unrest in Kenosha. Rittenhouse successfully argued he acted in self-defense when he wounded one man and shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, D., fumed over the verdict.

Kyle Rittenhouse reacts to the verdict during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 19, 2021.
( Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

“Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum are victims. They should be alive today. The only reason they’re not is because a violent, dangerous man chose to take a gun across state lines and start shooting people. To call this a miscarriage of justice is an understatement,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat, N.Y., called Rittenhouse a “murderer” whose “white tears” prevented justice, calling “our system is terribly broken.” Rittenhouse was widely mocked on the left when he cried on the stand while testifying about the shootings last week.

Left-wing MSNBC contributor and former Obama aide Ben Rhodes weighed in, calling it a “very dark message” to other “heavily armed would-be vigilantes.” Rittenhouse was repeatedly called a vigilante and even a murderer by left-leaning pundits in the volatile coverage of the emotional case.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer Dyjuan Tatro tweeted, “No justice, no peace,” and added that the “American legal system is rooted in racism and functions to uphold white supremacy.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin criticized the verdict as well, and a “heartbroken” Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., called the verdict “white supremacy in action.”

“Depressing. And pathetic,” said former Biden deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris wrote, “I have no words. This is disgusting.”

Far-left Nation correspondent and frequent MSNBC guest Elie Mystal also declared a double standard.

Kariann Swart, Joseph Rosembaum’s fiancee, Susan Hughes, Anthony Huber’s great-aunt, and Hannah Gittings, Anthony Huber’s girlfriend, listen to the verdict during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 19, 2021.
(Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS)

Liberal MSNBC contributor Eugene Robinson said the verdict would be seen as “a vindication of vigilanteism,” repeating the oft-used media complaint that Rittenhouse “crossed state lines” when he went the short distance from his Illinois hometown to Kenosha in Wisconsin.

“I think it’s very dangerous and it’s very worrisome going forward,” he said.

Far-left cable news chronicler Aaron Rupar wrote “being found not guilty does not mean he’s innocent,” while liberal Bloomberg writer Tim O’Brien also claimed a racist double standard.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also bemoaned Rittenhouse crossing state lines and said he made a “conscious decision” to “take the lives of two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by police,” which was not an accurate assessment of the shooting incidents.

“Unfortunately, this is not surprising,” the left-wing organization wrote.

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., accused Rittenhouse of seeking out violence and called for a re-examination of the nation’s self-defense laws.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes likened Rittenhouse to George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013 in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, and said he hoped he would not go down Zimmerman’s troubled path since the wrenching case.

NBC’s Lester Holt wondered if the verdict had validated the idea that Rittenhouse could “provoke” violence and then claim self-defense.

Rittenhouse, 18, would have faced a mandatory life sentence if found guilty and convicted of first-degree intentional homicide. The verdict came on the fourth day of deliberations.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, reacts as her son is found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. The jury came back with its verdict afer close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation.  (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

Rittenhouse was facing charges of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety after he fatally shot two people and injured a third person during the second night of civil unrest in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020.

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