U.S. President Donald Trump says Kyle Rittenhouse — a man who has been charged in connection with the shooting deaths of two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., — was “very violently attacked” and “probably would’ve been killed.”
“You saw the same tape I saw, and he was trying to get away from them I guess — it looks like — and he fell and then they very violently attacked him and it was something that we’re looking at right now,” Trump said.
“I guess he was in very big trouble, he probably would’ve been killed.”
The president made the comments during a press conference at the White House Monday evening, after a reporter asked whether Rittenhouse should be condemned for his alleged actions.
Trump said the incident is “under investigation,” adding that it is an “interesting situation.”
Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree homicide, in connection with a shooting incident in Kenosha earlier this week.
The incident took place as demonstrators protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, clashed with armed militia members.
Tuesday’s shooting left a 26-year-old from Silver Lake, Wis., and a 36-year-old from Kenosha dead, while a 36-year-old from West Allis, Wis., is expected to survive his injuries.
Trump is scheduled to travel to Kenosha on Tuesday.
However, the city’s mayor John Antaramian, has requested Trump not visit over concerns it could “agitate things.”
But speaking to reporters on Monday, Trump said his presence could “also increase enthusiasm,” and “love and respect for our country.”
He said he has “tremendous support” in Wisconsin.
“I promised them when it all gets taken care of we’ll go,” he said.
Trump said he is not planning on meeting with Blake’s family while in Kenosha.
“They wanted me to speak but they wanted lawyers involved, and I thought that was inappropriate so I didn’t do that,” he said.”
But, Trump claimed he has spoken with the family’s pastor, who he called a “fine man, a wonderful man.”
“I think we had a great talk,” he said.
Blake was shot seven times by Kenosha police. He survived, however, his father said he is now paralyzed from the waist down.
— With files from Global News’ Josh Elliott and Reuters.