Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley on Wednesday seemed to defend Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old vigilante allegedly who traveled out of state and fatally shot two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, before vaguely walking it back.
When CNN anchor John Berman asked if President Donald Trump supported out-of-state vigilantes coming in to act as law enforcement, Gidley said Trump “doesn’t” support them, but also Democratic state leaders have “let these looters continue to criminalize our communities” and Trump “doesn’t want that.”
“It does make sense just logically, if you don’t allow police to do their job, then the American people have to defend themselves some way,” the Trump campaign spokesperson said.
When a visibly shocked Berman pointed out that Gidley had just defended vigilantism, the campaign aide retorted that he “did no such thing.”
Gidley dodged when Berman pressed him to say definitively that both he and Trump oppose vigilantism.
“We have a Second Amendment in this country,” said Gidley, then accused Democrats of trying to “get rid of” people’s Second Amendment rights and the police.
“That leaves American families in grave danger and the President is against that,” Gidley told Berman. “He is for safety and security in the communities and for our families.”
The CNN anchor gave up, telling Gidley that he’ll give him a chance to at least say that cops ought to be able to do their jobs and that it’s a bad idea for people to come in out of state to act as law enforcement untrained.
“It is a bad idea, yes, and we’ve said many times that the men and women of law enforcement (need) to be able to do their job, not be hamstrung by local officials,” Gidley replied.
For his part, Trump has decidedly not condemned Rittenhouse and has in fact suggested that the teen was justified in allegedly killing the protesters.
“That was an interesting situation,” Trump said on Monday, saying that Rittenhouse “probably would have been killed” at the protest.
Watch Gidley below:
Trump campaign spokesperson on Kyle Rittenhouse: "It does make sense just logically, if you don't allow police to do their job then the American people have to defend themselves some way." pic.twitter.com/8SjwK3lxal
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 2, 2020