Republican and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi defended the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old double-murder suspect who is charged with killing two protesters last month and injuring a third. Bondi appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to call Rittenhouse “a little boy” who was “trying to protect his community.”
“You have got a 17-year-old out there trying to protect his state,” Bondi said, despite the fact that Rittenhouse traveled from his home city of Antioch, Illinois to attend the protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“He is helping people who have been injured. He has paramedic training from being a lifeguard,” she continued. “He is taking graffiti off walls. He is trying to mitigate the chaos out there.”
The segment aired footage of the protest that was released by Rittenhouse’s attorney, which showed the teenager putting out a fire allegedly started by one of his shooting victims. In a statement to Newsweek, Bondi reportedly clarified that she meant Rittenhouse was “defending a nearby city” rather than his home community.
The 11-minute video also shows Rittenhouse being chased by protesters after fatally shooting 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum. He falls to the ground and was allegedly hit with a skateboard by 26-year-old Anthony Huber, whom he then fatally shoots in the chest. Rittenhouse also shot a third protester, who had a gun, in the arm.
“They’re chasing him down,” Bondi said of the footage. “Whether or not he should be charged with any of it, I think it’s too soon to charge him. We don’t even know the ballistics. They charged him two days later and there were bullets flying everywhere.
“This kid was out there trying to help people. Were people killed? Absolutely,” she continued. “But again, we don’t know yet. You’ve got a little boy out there trying to protect his community.”
Bondi justified Rittenhouse’s actions by labeling Kenosha as a “war zone.” Protests had erupted in the city after police shot Jacob Blake seven times.
“Should he have been out there with a gun? No. But should he have been charged with murder? We just don’t know yet. They charged him two days later,” she said of Rittenhouse.
“You know, it’s a war zone out there. What’s it coming to in these liberal cities, when teenagers have to go out to provide aid to other people who are getting injured by these rioters?”
Donald Trump also defended Rittenhouse and claimed he acted in self-defense.
“He was in very big trouble,” the POTUS said during a recent news briefing. “He probably would’ve been killed, but it’s under investigation.”
Earlier this month, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said of the matter, “We all do stupid things at 17.”
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. He also faces charges for possession of a dangerous weapon as a minor.
Watch a clip of Bondi on Hannity below.