A Fox News host and other prominent conservatives have come out against treating acquitted Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse like a hero.
It can be a fine line between celebration and exploitation.
Responding to the raucous standing ovation Rittenhouse received at Turning Point USA’s “AmericaFest” conference Monday, Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren on Fox News Tuesday urged fellow conservatives not to turn the 18-year-old into a “rock star.”
.@TomiLahren: "I believe we can put up Kyle Rittenhouse as someone who was innocent … but I think we should step back a little bit and maybe not treat him like he is a rock star or a celebrity." pic.twitter.com/uZP4Yk00aL
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) December 21, 2021
Lahren made clear she agreed with Rittenhouse’s acquittal of all charges of all charges in his murder trial last month and said the media had “slandered” and “mischaracterized” him.
- “However, I do think as conservatives we need to be a little careful when it comes to this,” she said. “I believe we can put up Kyle Rittenhouse as someone who was innocent who was bulled and mistreated by the media, but I think we should step back a little bit and maybe not treat him like he is a rock star or a celebrity.”
- Fox Business Network host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery endorsed Lahren’s remarks, saying Rittenhouse’s killing of two protesters during riots last summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were “still a tragedy,”
A number of conservative commentators have raised similar concerns on Twitter, with some worrying about Rittenhouse’s welfare.
- Katya Sedgwick, a journalist, said in a tweet Tuesday that received more than 15,000 likes: “Unpopular opinion: Kyle Rittenhouse needs to get on with normal life. This has a strong potential of not ending well.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., faced some conservative backlash for sharing a photo of her and Rittenhouse Tuesday at the TPUSA event in a gun-rights themed tweet.
You’re using this kid for clout and it’s absolutely shameful. https://t.co/jBhpPL98gr
— Danielle Butcher (@DaniSButcher) December 21, 2021
Other conservatives have countered that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Rittenhouse.
- “Kyle Rittenhouse was demonized by the entire system for over a year and people are lashing out that people would dare give him a microphone and a chance to show he is a normal human being,” Turning Point USA host Jack Posobiec said Wednesday on Twitter.
- Conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza explained the right’s love of Rittenhouse in another tweet Wednesday: “The kid is now a symbol not merely of self-defense and gun rights but also moral accountability.”
Earlier this month, Rittenhouse told a conservative podcaster who lauded him for killing two protesters during riots last summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that it was “nothing to be congratulated about.”
- In a local news interview shortly after his acquittal, Rittenhouse said he just wants “to be a normal 18-year-old college student” and pursue a career in nursing.
Around the same time, Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards warned on Fox News: “He’s very recognizable right now. There’s a lot of people who I don’t think have his best interests at heart and probably want to make him a symbol of something I don’t think he wants to be necessarily associated with.”