President Trump said he doesn’t want his supporters to confront protesters, saying they should be dealt with by law enforcement.
“No. No, I don’t want them. I want to leave it to law enforcement,” the president said during an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News.
“But my supporters are wonderful, hard-working, tremendous people. And they turn on their television set, and they look at a Portland, or they look at a Kenosha, before I got involved and stopped it, or they look at Chicago, where 78 people were shot last weekend and numerous people died, or they look at New York, where violence is up by like, what? 150%. … They’re looking at all of this, and they can’t believe it,” Trump said.
The interview aired hours after Trump appeared to defend 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who is accused of shooting two rioters last week in Kenosha, saying he acted in self-defense.
“That was an interesting situation. He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looked like,” and he fell, and then they very violently attacked him,” Trump said at a White House press conference.“
“He was in very big trouble,” the president added. “He probably would have been killed.”
Video shows Rittenhouse apparently being pursued by a group before he falls to the ground. At that point, he turned and fired his .223 rifle at a number of people, killing two and wounding one.
Trump has blasted the Democratic mayors of Kenosha and Portland and has called for a “law-and-order” approach to the protests in those cities, urging them to ask him for assistance to send in the National Guard or federal troops.
The president is scheduled to travel to Kenosha later Tuesday to survey damage caused by the protests and to meet with law enforcement officials.