President Joe Biden reacted to the “not guilty” verdicts from the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial on Friday.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
The president said he would continue working to “heal our country’s wounds” until “every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity.” He called for protests of the verdict to remain peaceful.
While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. My full statement: https://t.co/mx51kR6ZUh
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 19, 2021
“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law,” he said. “Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy.”
Biden’s written statement went much further to sympathize with critics of the verdict than his first reaction to the trial as he arrived back to the White House from a colonoscopy and a physical examination at Walter Reed hospital.
“I stand by what the jury has to say,” Biden said shortly. “The jury system works and we have to abide by it.”
He added he did not watch the case.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday afternoon the White House wanted to see “peaceful protest” in reaction to the trial.
“[W]e are supporting any effort toward peaceful protest, that’s certainly what we will continue to encourage, as anyone looks to have their voice heard regardless of the outcome,” she said.
On Monday, Psaki said she would not react specifically to the trial but condemned “vigilantes” armed with “assault weapons” in American communities.
President Biden faced calls to apologize after his social media account referred to Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist” in a campaign video.
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 him publicly on television, accusing the president 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.
After the verdict was handed down from the jury, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) urged Biden to publicly apologize to Rittenhouse on social media.
Joe Biden needs to publicly apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) November 19, 2021
The White House did not respond to a request from Breitbart News for comment.