Kyle Rittenhouse has slammed commentators on both the left and right as ‘sickening’ for polarizing Americans and turning his shooting into a cause celebre.
‘This is something that I wish never would have happened but it did and we can’t change that,’ Rittenhouse, 18, tells Fox News host Tucker Carlson in footage shared exclusively with DailyMail.com.
‘But how polarized it became is absolutely sickening, like, right or left, people using me for a cause that should never have been used as a cause.’
Jurors decided the rifle-wielding teen opened fire in self-defense as the trio chased and attacked him during the August 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black male.
His unanimous acquittal prompted accusations from the left that a ‘racist’ two-tier justice system favors white defendants and gives a green light to heavily-armed vigilantes.
Conservatives, meanwhile, have lauded Rittenhouse for protecting his community against lawlessness and pointed out that not a single person he shot at during the fiery chaos was black.
‘He’s 18. He didn’t get into this to make a political point. This is his community and they were burning it down,’ said Carlson, speaking to DailyMail.com hours before his exclusive interview airs Monday on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
‘I don’t think he sees himself as a poster boy for anything. In fact, he emphatically doesn’t. And that’s part of the tragedy of it, I don’t think he ever wanted any of this.’
Carlson had a production crew embedded with Rittenhouse and his legal team throughout the murder trial for an hour-long documentary to be screened next month on subscription service, Fox Nation.
He’s adamant that jurors reached the appropriate verdict despite what he slams as a slew of racist smears and groundless links to white supremacy from liberal commentators.
‘What’s so distressing, is that nobody seems willing to assess Kyle Rittenhouse on his own terms,’ Carlson said of the Antioch, Illinois native.
‘My view after spending a few hours with him and talking to him about his life is that he was not an especially political kid. You know, he liked Andrew Yang.
‘He was a 17-year-old kid from a working class family who always had a job. He was a fry cook, a lifeguard, this is not someone from a privileged background – just the opposite.
‘He wasn’t in a militia. He had no weird views on race. If anything, he’s probably pretty liberal on race.
‘He went to Kenosha because a bunch of his relatives lived there, he worked there and he was upset because of what was happening there.
‘The police were doing nothing about it. The mayor of Kenosha was doing nothing about it. The governor of Wisconsin allowed it to happen. And so it fell to the 17-year-old kid.
‘The kid takes a stand against violence and he’s immediately threatened.’
Carlson said he supported Rittenhouse’s version of events from the start because he watched video clips of the shootings which would eventually form the bedrock of a successful defense which argued that Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz were the aggressors who presented a threat to his life.
In contrast, he says multiple commentators continue to repeat erroneous information on the case and that several oversees outlets were so confused by the US media’s racially-focused narrative that they wrongly reported the ‘victims’ as black.
‘The story had nothing to do with race. These were all entitled white kids,’ Carlson told DailyMail.com.
‘Why did they think that? Because that was the implication of the American media coverage.
‘Why would you do that? Why would you make people hate each other more on the basis of their race?
‘It’s impossible to get that stuff back in the bottle. They’re destroying the country. They’re literally destroying the country.’
Carlson has faced criticism himself from rival media outfits, with CNN’s Brian Stelter accusing his upcoming documentary of exploiting a tragedy to ‘drive subscriptions’ for Fox Nations.
Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards also told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he disapproved of giving access to a film crew but understood the teenager needed to raise money to crowdfund his defense.
‘We weren’t part of Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense team, that’s not our job. Our job is to get as much information as we can and deliver it to our viewers,’ countered Carlson, whose producers have denied paying Rittenhouse or offering any similar financial incentive.
‘It’s funny, I mean CNN has literally worked hand in hand with the Department of Justice to punish the enemies of the Joe Biden administration. That’s very sinister.
‘We have very capable producers and they were able to get more information about the case than CNN was able to get.’
Carlson is hopeful viewers will take the time to watch his show so they can make up their own minds about the catastrophic shooting and the ensuing, 19-day trial that gripped the US.
‘I still believe in the core premise of journalism which is, if you bring people facts, some percentage of them will make up their own mind in a rational, thoughtful way,’ he said.
‘I supported him from day one because I watched the video. I didn’t think that he broke the law and that turned out to be true. But I didn’t know him and so this gives people an hour of video to assess what they think of him.
‘People will reach their own conclusions, but, you know, no one who watches this will come away thinking Rittenhouse is some kind of hater because he certainly isn’t.
‘And how dare people make the claim that he’s a white supremacist. I hope he sues the sh*t out of everyone who said that because it’s just so dishonest. It’s mind boggling actually.’
As for the future, Carlson fears it will prove incredibly difficult for Rittenhouse to resume anything resembling a normal life.
‘As far as I can tell, he wants to get a nursing degree at Arizona State University. My own adult take on that is that, that might be pretty hard,’ Carlson added.
‘I don’t know if he understands because he’s been in jail and in the middle of a murder trial. I don’t think he has perspective on how famous he’s become and what a symbol he’s become. I don’t think he gets that. I mean, how could he get that?’
Left-wing response to Rittenhouse’s acquittal
Cori Bush, a congresswoman for Missouri and member of ‘The Squad’ described Rittenhouse’s acquittal as ‘white supremacy in action’.
‘This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable,’ she said.
‘It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free.
‘I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken.’
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agreed, tweeting: ‘What we are witnessing is a system functioning as designed and protecting those it was designed for.’
Fellow Squad member Ayanna Pressley added: ‘Racism & white supremacy remain the bedrock of our legal system. My heart breaks for the family & loved ones of those whose lives were stolen, and the trauma our communities face today and every day.
‘The struggle for accountability, for justice, for healing goes on.’
The head of the House Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, said: ‘I’m heartbroken.
‘If we’re ever going to tackle racial injustice in America, we have to admit our justice system isn’t working for Black, brown and Indigenous people. Then, we have to transform it.
‘It won’t be easy but I’m committed to organizing alongside you to make it happen.’
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, said that ‘to call this a miscarriage of justice is an understatement.’
He tweeted: ‘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.’