The White House on Monday condemned “vigilantes” armed with “assault weapons” as the Kyle Rittenhouse trial wrapped up in Wisconsin.
“What I can reiterate for you is the president’s view that we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the daily briefing.
Psaki said she would not specifically address an ongoing trial, but indicated that Biden was not supportive of individuals defending their communities.
She reacted to the Rittenhouse trial on Monday after Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked her about Biden’s assertion on social media that Kyle Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist.”
There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night. pic.twitter.com/Q3VZTW1vUV
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy criticized Biden for doing so, accusing him of defaming her son.
“I was so angry for a while at him and what he did to my son, he defamed him,” Rittenhouse’s mother said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Psaki did not respond when asked if the president believed Rittenhouse was a white supremacist.
She said the White House understood that “emotions were high” as the trial wrapped up, but that Biden wanted Americans to come together.
“Our message, I would say, is president Biden ran on a promise to bring Americans together and to turn down the temperature on the angry divisive rhetoric and actions from the past four years,” she said.
Psaki said the federal government was in contact with state and local officials and was ready to offer federal law enforcement support if needed after the verdict was delivered.
“We are hopeful any protests are peaceful,” she said.