Following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse last week, a Joe Biden campaign ad from 2020 remerged and began to make the rounds. In it, a picture of Rittenhouse is seen on the screen while soundbites in the background continually mention “white supremacy.” That has led many to wonder if the president himself could be one of the first targets of the defamation lawsuits that Rittenhouse and his lawyers are likely to unleash soon.
Today, the White House was finally asked directly about their view of the matter. Fox News’ Peter Doocy (because no other “journalist” in the room would ever bring it up) asked Jen Psaki if Biden would consider apologizing for smearing Rittenhouse with false allegations of racism. Psaki’s answer was so incoherent that it left me wondering whether they actually want to be sued.
Is Psaki saying that Rittenhouse is responsible for “hatred, division, and violence”? Because her comments sure sound like the White House is simply doubling down on defaming the teenager, offering fresh evidence for his lawyers to use. Mentioning that Trump is heard on the video does not change the purpose of the video, which was to paint Rittenhouse as a white supremacist.
The facts are out there on what happened that night in Kenosha last year. There was no hatred or division involved in the Rittenhouse case, and to the extent that there was violence, it was in self-defense.
Yet, instead of just taking down the temperature here by offering some kind of clarification, Psaki pours gasoline on the fire, refusing to budge an inch. What exactly is the strategy here? It would have been easy to say the president doesn’t believe Rittenhouse himself is a “white supremacist” and that the video is being taken out of context. By contrast, the White House’s position seems to be double-dog daring Rittenhouse to file suit.
And to be perfectly honest, I hope he does. This administration is lawless in more ways than one. They simply do not think that the rules apply to them, and the only way to change that attitude is to make them pay. In this case, literally.
Doocy did press Psaki further, at which point she just repeated herself about hatred and division, doing nothing to actually offer clarity on the issue. On that note, I will levy one criticism of the Fox News reporter: He should have immediately followed up by asking “Does Joe Biden believe Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist?” That would have left her nowhere to go. Instead, she filibustered until it was time to move on.
In the end, I’m not so sure the White House doesn’t welcome this fight, though. Perhaps they see it as another pressure point to divide and conquer? Because they certainly aren’t behaving as if they’d like to avoid litigation here.