Weeks after Kyle Rittenhouse said he wanted to “keep a low profile” when he was found not guilty of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and other charges related to last year’s fatal shooting which rocked Kenosha, Wisconsin, the teenager was greeted Monday with a conservative lecture in music, fireworks and a standing ovation from thousands of attendees.
âYou are a hero to millions of people,â Turning Point USA frontman Charlie Kirk told Rittenhouse at the group’s AmericaFest rally in Phoenix. “It’s an honor to be able to have you.”
Amid the pomp and circumstance for an 18-year-old whose crowd chanted his name, Rittenhouse, who shot two men and injured another during mass protests against police violence in August 2020, suggested Monday that lawsuits could be brought against outlets media over how they covered his murder trial.
âThere’s going to be some media accountability going forward,â Rittenhouse told Fox News.
Rittenhouse has not identified any media outlets he could prosecute or cite as examples of alleged defamation, and he has not taken any legal action against a media company. His lawyer and family spokesperson did not immediately respond to messages on Tuesday morning.
If he sued the media, Rittenhouse would follow in the recent footsteps of Nicholas Sandmann, who announced on Friday that he had reached an agreement with NBC News regarding his coverage of an interaction between the student at a Catholic school and the activist. Native American Nathan Phillips in Washington during March. for Life in 2019. Asked by Fox about Sandmann’s latest settlement, Rittenhouse replied, âGood for him. “
The Washington Post settled a lawsuit brought by Sandmann’s parents last year. Sandmann’s family argued in a complaint filed in 2019 that The Post defamed Sandmann in seven articles and in tweets promoting the articles. The Post maintained that its reports were accurate and fair.
Although Rittenhouse told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the polarization around his case was “sickening”, the teenager was adopted by Tories within weeks of his acquittal of all charges for killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. and injure Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27. Rittenhouse admitted to shooting the men, but maintained he acted in self-defense. Some conservatives have touted him, while critics have described him as a violent vigilante.
In the month since a jury found him not guilty, Rittenhouse gave interviews in which he admitted that going to Kenosha after the police shooting against Jacob Blake was “not the way to go. best idea “. He recently met former President Donald Trump, who called him a “nice young man,” and the teenager is the subject of a Carlson documentary airing on Fox Nation called “Kyle’s Trial.”
Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, the approximately 6,700 people in attendance were in a festive mood before Rittenhouse’s appearance. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Who spoke at the event on Monday, praised Rittenhouse – “my new friend” – hours before speaking.
âYou have the right to defend yourself! Said Boebert.
Those in attendance chanted âKyle! Kyle! Kyle! In the moments before he took the stage, the Arizona Republic reported.
A video of his entry posted to Twitter has been viewed over a million times. It shows fireworks welcoming Rittenhouse on stage, as spectators wave cellphone cameras to capture the moment. A digital version of the American flag has his name on stars and stripes as his entrance music repeats Rittenhouse’s name.
Online reviewers noted the reception Rittenhouse received, which one said included “a WrestleMania quality entry pyro.”
âKyle Rittenhouse receives rock star reception at Turning Point USA in AZ,â observed KTTV presenter Elex Michaelson in Los Angeles.
Rittenhouse’s appearance was one of the most publicized slots of the four-day event for Turning Point USA, the prominent conservative youth organization that backed Trump and his false claims of fraud in the presidential election of 2020 which he lost to Joe Biden. Rittenhouse showed up on the same day that Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested at AmericaFest that those unhappy with the coronavirus measures should ‘ambush’ Anthony Fauci, the top federal disease expert infectious diseases of the country, in a street interview with a rhetorical “gunshot”. Fauci called on Watters’ dismissal on Tuesday.
Some Republicans criticized Turning Point USA for inviting Rittenhouse to speak at the event, saying it diminished the party.
“Whether or not you agree with the verdict is one thing,” Ashley Pratte Oates, Republican Women for Progress board member and communications strategist, wrote in an opinion piece for NBC News. “Glorifying someone who shot dead two people and injured another (even if he was acquitted) is another.”
But Turning Point USA has defended bringing Rittenhouse to AmericaFest, saying “there are a lot of people out there who want to hear what he has to say, and there is tremendous interest.”
“You know, he didn’t ask for it, but he became this cultural symbol, a point of contact for self-defense,” Turning Point USA spokesman Andrew Kolvet told Republic. âHe’s immersed himself in this and he has a story to tell. “
During a 45-minute roundtable discussion with Kirk and others, there was a brief reference to one of the men shot and killed by Rittenhouse, according to local media. At one point, Rittenhouse said he was a scapegoat in an alleged government effort to remove guns from people.
âMy trial was an example of them trying to come after our Second Amendment rights, our right to defend ourselves and trying to take our guns,â he told the crowd.
AZ Right Wing Watch tweeted how the Rittenhouse fame was held in high regard among those in attendance.
âThey asked if any of the women in the crowd wanted to date him and there was loud cheering,â the group wrote. “Someone had a ‘kiss me’ sign.”
Although the other panelists spoke for most of the session, Rittenhouse said the trial had matured him: “You can only live one day at a time.” When he also suggested the possibility of a media lawsuit, his remarks drew applause from the sympathetic crowd.
âThe responsibility is coming,â he said. âI would be on the lookout. “