Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards on Monday took aim at the multiple House Republicans who have offered an internship to his client, days after Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges related to his shooting of three people (two fatally) during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.
Upon Rittenhouse’s acquittal last week, several GOP lawmakers such as Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) swiftly expressed their interest in hiring Rittenhouse as an intern as they celebrated the news. Gosar tweeted that he would “arm wrestle” Gaetz to “get dibs for Kyle as an intern.” In an Instagram post, Cawthorn wrote that Rittenhouse would “be the only person on my staff with more security than me.”
Asked about the internship offers to his client during an interview on Fox News, Richards dismissed the GOP congressmen’s offers as a “cheap” means to gain publicity.
“Well, I think there’s a lot of people want to use Kyle for their own means,” Richards said. “I think the way the Rittenhouse name right now has trended on Twitter – and that’s what we live in, is a Twitter society – people want to use his name, get it out there so they can get some publicity. I think it’s cheap. That’s what I think.”
Richards also said that now that Rittenhouse has been acquitted, he would advise his client to change his name in order to “start his life over.”
“He’s very recognizable right now. There’s a lot of people who I don’t think have his best interests at heart, and probably want to make him a symbol of something I don’t think he wants to be necessarily associated with,” Richards said. “And once you give up your name and your likeness and you join those causes, I think a lot of people will use you for their own purposes and you won’t be able to control it.”
Richards said that it will be a “fine line” where Rittenhouse decides to go.
“Ultimately I hope he makes the right choices,” Richards said. “I would think his life would be a lot easier being anonymous and going on with his life as opposed to try and keep his fervent supporters happy.”
Almost immediately after the verdict, various right-wing pundits and politicians began to suggest that the country — as well as the media and Democrats — owed Rittenhouse an apology.
Since his arrest, Rittenhouse had been given hero status among those in far-right, pro-militia, pro-guns groups, with many seizing on his claims of self-defense and his attempt to take the law into his own hands as symbolic of the broader far-right extremism movements’ efforts.
Watch Richards’ remarks below: