The mother of the teenager who killed two protesters and wounded a third during racial justice protests in Kenosha has insisted her son is not a white supremacist, and attacked Joe Biden for having ‘used my son’s image to get votes’.
Wendy Rittenhouse’s son Kyle, 17, traveled from his home in Antioch, Illinois to the Wisconsin city on the night of August 25, amid protests at the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake.
Armed with an assault rifle, Kyle was swept up in the melee and opened fire.
Wendy, a single mother of three, said he was acting in self defense, and attacked Biden for showing her son alongside neo-Nazis in a campaign video.
‘I will take him down,’ she said of the president-elect.
Wendy Rittenhouse appeared on Fox News on Thursday night to defend her son Kyle
Biden shared a video clip on Twitter denouncing white supremacists that including a photo of Rittenhouse wielding a gun
On Thursday night she appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News and said she was suing Biden for defamation after her son’s image appeared in a Biden campaign video, in which Biden called on Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists.
In the September campaign clip, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, moderator in the first presidential debate, is heard asking: ‘Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups?’
Kyle Rittenhouse, at 17, was not legally allowed to carry a gun in Wisconsin
The clip features various extremist groups marching, and an image of Kyle from August 25.
Asked by Carlson how she felt on seeing her son in the Biden campaign, along with torch-carrying white supremacists, she replied: ‘How dare him do that to my son? That’s my son that he did that too.
‘And I’m not going to back down from him and he is not a white supremacist. He’s not a racist.
‘He is my son and I know him and he is none of that what Joe Biden said.’
Wendy said that he son was ‘a caring young man’.
‘He went to Kenosha to help people and what Joe Biden did and showed my son’s picture, his image, and labeled him as a white supremacist, I will take him down.’
Carlson asked why she thought Biden used her son in the campaign.
‘To win the election,’ she said. ‘Cheaters don’t win and he used my son’s image to get votes.’
Her son is currently in Kenosha county jail.
Rittenhouse, seen lying on his back on the ground, shot and killed Kenosha protesters
Rittenhouse looked up to law enforcement and was part of a ‘police explorer’ program
She then appealed to Fox News viewers to donate to her son’s legal fund.
Wendy said she didn’t know her son was planning on going to Kenosha on the August night.
She said he intended to clean graffiti, and went there with his medical kit to help people.
‘You know, every day I think about my son. I wish he didn’t go,’ she said.
‘But he’s a caring young man that wanted to help.’
On Tuesday Wendy told the Chicago Tribune that neither her son nor the protesters should have been on the street that night, and put much of the blame for what happened on police and the governor.
‘It’s a tragedy what happened to Mr Blake. It is,’ she said.
‘But my son and everybody else should not have been in Kenosha.
‘The police should have helped the businesses out instead of having a 17-year-old kid helping him.
‘The police should have been involved with these people that lost their businesses. They should have stepped up.’
Joe Biden used Rittenhouse’s image in a campaign advert in September
Rittenhouse is shown opening fire on Joseph Rosenbaum on the night of August 25
She stressed that she understands the pressure the police are under and said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, should have deployed reinforcements.
A Kenosha County court commissioner determined that Kyle Rittenhouse would be a flight risk if he was released from jail and ordered his bail to remain at $2 million.
Wendy dismissed any suggestion that her son could flee, telling the paper: ‘I have $1.20 in my bank account. You think I can get on a plane?’
The Rittenhouse case has attracted significant conservative financial support.
Her attorney, John Pierce, said a legal defense fund has raised nearly $2 million, and that Rittenhouse has received a total of $100,000 for personal expenses from an organization that supports gun rights and another that backs domestic militias.
Pierce told the newspaper he has control of that money.
Rittenhouse’s mugshot, taken on August 26 by the Antioch police department
Rittenhouse appears via video during a hearing in Waukegan, Illinois on October 9
Rittenhouse in court on October 30 for his extradition hearing, sending him to Wisconsin
President Donald Trump has suggested the shootings may have been justified because it appeared Kyle Rittenhouse was trying to fend off violent attackers.
Videos show armed civilians arriving in Kenosha after a local militia group, the Kenosha Guard, put out a call to arms on Facebook. Police didn’t stop them as they walked down the street and, in one video, officers handed them bottles of water.
In another video, Kyle Rittenhouse, armed with an assault rifle, explained to a reporter that he was protecting a business from looting.
His mother told the Tribune he doesn’t belong to the Kenosha Guard or any militia group and prosecutors also have not suggested any connection between her son and militias.
She declined to discuss how her son acquired the weapon that he used in the shootings.
Dominic Black, an 18-year-old friend of Rittenhouse, told authorities that he purchased the weapon at a hardware store in Wisconsin.
On Monday, a court commissioner set Black’s bail at $2,500 on felony charges that he supplied a dangerous weapon to a minor, causing death.
According to police reports, Black told investigators that Wendy Rittenhouse had been planning to apply for a firearm owner’s identification card in Illinois so they could legally keep the weapon in Antioch.
Wendy Rittenhouse told the newspaper that she sees nothing wrong with teenagers possessing firearms.