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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rittenhouse’s acquittal strengthens Biden’s political clutches

Author AAMER MADHANI

WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP) – The difficult political climate for President Joe Biden may have grown even more treacherous since Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal.

Biden has already faced sliding poll numbers as the electorate was plagued by the coronavirus pandemic and rising inflation. Now the president is trapped between outraged Democrats – some of whom are already unhappy with Biden’s failure to reform police and voting rights legislation – and Republicans seeking to use the Rittenhouse case to exploit national divisions over grievances and race.

“This is one of the last things Biden wants to do at the moment as he is trying to finish the big Build Back Better bill and bring it to the finish line through the Senate,” said Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg College. Institute of Public Opinion. “Race and Kyle Rittenhouse is not where he wants or needs to go deep right now.”

Rittenhouse’s acquittal sparked new talk of racial justice, vigilance, and police in America. An Illinois teenager armed with an AR-15-type semi-automatic rifle during an August 2020 protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, days after a black man was shot dead by a white police officer. He said he came to a small town to help protect the parking lot from vandals and provide medical assistance.

Rittenhouse ended up shooting two men and crippling a third. Rittenhouse and his lawyers have successfully proven that he acted in self-defense during the confrontation in which he feared for his life.

The verdict comes as Biden tries to keep his fellow Democrats focused on passing his massive social services and climate law and hopes to turn the tide with the Americans who have spoiled his presidency.

The president reacted cautiously to Friday’s verdict, expressing respect for the jury’s decision. He later added in a written statement that, like many Americans, he was “angry and worried” about Rittenhouse’s acquittal by the jury.

Meanwhile, Republicans, who won elections in Virginia this month by blaming Democrats in part for promoting critical race theory in public schools, are embracing 18-year-old Rittenhouse as their new hero in America’s culture wars.

GOP representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona and Matt Goetz of Florida said they would like to hire him as a trainee, while Gosar invited them to fight for the honor. Another Republican, Rep. Lauren Bobert of Colorado, predicted on Saturday that liberal outrage over the Rittenhouse case would benefit her party.

“It seems liberals want self-defense to be illegal,” Bobert tweeted. “Try to launch this in 2022 and see how far you get it with the majority of the sane American public.”

Former President Donald Trump rushed to support Rittenhouse after the verdict. He called the teen “brave” for testifying in his own defense and accused the left of trying to “stir up hatred” by his attitude towards Rittenhouse.

Trump spent most of his post-presidential term fueling controversy with his direct criticism of Biden and any Republican who did not keep up with his views. And most Republicans, silently or directly supporting him, followed his example.

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Following his acquittal, Republicans took notice of Biden’s tweet during his winning 2020 presidential campaign, in which he seemed to suggest that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist.

The September 2020 tweet criticized Trump for failing to “disavow white supremacists in the debate stage” the night before, and included a video that contained a still image of Rittenhouse from the night of the Kenoshi shooting and footage of white supremacists holding torches. at the 2017 Unite Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel are among party officials who have called on Biden to apologize.

“He vilified a teenager to score political points and spread lies about this case,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter. “What Biden did was dangerous and inflammatory.”

When asked by a reporter shortly after the verdict if he supported publishing his campaign on social media, Biden replied, “I support what the jury concluded.”

Borik, an opinion poller at Muhlenberg College, said this month’s election results in Virginia show that addressing cultural issues, including race and transgender rights, could be a good strategy for Republicans trying to energize Trump’s crush on the electorate. but less enthusiastic about the rest of the GOP. But Borik warned that the all-consuming embrace of the Rittenhouse Republican Party is risky.

“I don’t know if this is a great place if you’re trying to reach out to suburban voters and educated voters in the middle of the semester, who may not be to blame for the decision to acquit Rittenhouse due to circumstances, but they are far from keeping him in hands. like a hero, – said Borik.

Even before his sentencing, Biden faced increased pressure from some Democrats over the lack of progress on voting rights and police reform legislation.

Last month, the day after Senate Republicans filed a major vote bill for the second time this year, Biden admitted that the governance process can be “disappointing and sometimes depressing,” but urged his supporters to “stay faithful “.

At the same time, civil rights leaders expressed disappointment that Biden no longer used the power of a bully tribune to push a sweeping police reform bill named after George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis whose murder by police last year sparked protests around us.

Speaking at an event earlier this week where he signed three bills to increase police aid, Biden only casually mentioned the George Floyd Act, asking lawmakers from both sides to work together to make it law.

“This is the next one,” Biden said.

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The full text of the AP article on the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse can be found at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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