Former President Donald Trump met with Kyle Rittenhouse after the teen was acquitted of killing two men during protests last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
"He's a really good young guy … just left Mar-a-Lago a little while ago, and he should never have been put through that," Trump said Tuesday night in an interview on Fox News' "Hannity."
"That was prosecutorial misconduct, and it's happening all over the United States right now with the Democrats."
Rittenhouse was found not guilty of five charges related to the shootings.
Progressives and critics denounced Rittenhouse's acquittal, saying the verdict was an affirmation of systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system. Trump disagreed.
Rittenhouse "should not have had to suffer through a trial for that," Trump told host Sean Hannity. "He was going to be dead if he didn't pull that trigger, that guy that put the gun to his head in one-quarter of a second he was going to pull the trigger. Kyle would have been dead."
The former president also slammed the mainstream media’s trial coverage for misinformation, including the falsehood that Rittenhouse brought the rifle across state lines.
"They are the enemy of the people and we could have a country that would be able to heal and get together, except the media foments it," Trump said.
"They're so corrupt. The fake news [media], but it's really the corrupt news. It's corrupt what they do. I had to devote a lot of time to fake investigations."
"People have gotten wise to it … and it's just a shame."
The media's presence became an issue during the trial on Thursday, when the presiding judge banned MSNBC from the courthouse for the proceeding’s duration after someone representing the news organization was caught following the jury's bus the previous evening.
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, during August 2020 protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.
The third person Rittenhouse shot, Gaige Grosskreutz, survived and testified during the trial.
Trump on Friday released a statement following the announcement of the jury’s verdict.
"Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges. It's called being found NOT GUILTY — And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!" Trump said.
Trump also decried Sunday's deadly Christmas parade attack in Waukesha, Wisconsin, by a "bad cookie."
Six people died and 62 were injured when a red SUV plowed into the parade. Career criminal Darrell Brooks, 39, was charged with multiple counts of intentional homicide.
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