“I support the BLM movement.”
Kyle Rittenhouse to Tucker Carlson
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Now that Kyle Rittenhouse has officially been found not guilty of murder after shooting two men to death on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, he’s begun hitting the right-wing press circuit that spent the past year placing this now-18-year-old killer on the same pedestal as George Zimmerman, the McCloskeys, and other vigilante gunmen.
It should be little surprise, then, that Rittenhouse would kick off his post-trial media tour with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who once praised Rittenhouse’s decision to bring and use his long rifle to the social justice protests that followed the police assault on Jacob Blake, a Black man, last summer as a decision “to maintain order when no one else would.” The full interview doesn’t air until Monday evening, but Carlson has already begun teasing what is likely to be one of the most controversial moments of the conversation, in which Rittenhouse insists that he is not only not a racist, but that he actively supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This case has nothing to do with race,” Rittenhouse told Carlson in a segment shared late Sunday evening ahead of Monday’s broadcast. “It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense.”
“I’m not a racist person,” he continued. “I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating. I believe there needs to be change. I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases. It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone.”
You might understandably be confused by several parts of Rittenhouse’s statement. So in the interest of unpacking this bit of self-exoneration, I’ve annotated the quote with some helpful context:
I’m not a racist person [says teen filmed drinking with members of a racist street gang and flashing a tongue in cheek white supremacist hand sign]. I support the BLM movement [Rittenhouse’s since-deleted social media profile was littered with “Blue Lives Matter” statements and graphics created as an antithesis to the BLM movement]. I support peacefully demonstrating [is that why he brought an AR-15 to a demonstration?]. I believe there needs to be change. I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases. It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone [Hm.].
At this point, Rittenhouse’s full embrace by the far-right wing of this country is largely complete. He’s been offered congressional internships and jobs by some of the worst, most opportunistic figures in American conservatism. Lip service to BLM and anti-racism might make for a catchy soundbite, but given his current trajectory of Fox News interviews and Republican courting, it’s hard to take his statement as anything more than posturing.