Pelosi questions level of Trump ‘responsibility’ after ‘brazen’ shooting of Wisconsin protesters
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested President Trump may bear some responsibility following a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wis., this week as protesters decried the earlier police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The moment came during Pelosi’s appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday night, shortly after the late-night host pressed the Democratic leader about the shooting the night before that left two people dead and another wounded.
“First, as you know, Jacob Blake was shot seven times for something, well, when you saw it, it didn’t seem as if there was any justification for it, especially in front of his children. So, that provoked a reaction, and then this person with a gun, semiautomatic, I understand, went and killed two people, injured another,” she said.
“And what is the responsibility that the president needs to feel about what encouragement or whatever the word is that he may have given, the comfort level for someone to do such a thing and be so brazen about it?” Pelosi continued.
“He thought he was joining a militia. What militia?” she added of the suspected shooter Tuesday night.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.
The Tuesday shooting in Kenosha came during a third night of protests following the police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back by an officer on Sunday as he attempted to enter his vehicle following an initial altercation. The Wisconsin Department of Justice said Wednesday that a knife was discovered in a later search of Blake’s car, while authorities also identified the officer who shot him.
According to CNN, footage captured from the Tuesday night incident showed someone armed with what the network described as a “long gun” while running ahead of a crowd of people in a street in Kenosha. That person also reportedly appeared to fire shots at some point not long after.
A 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Ill., has been identified as the suspect in the shooting and has been charged with intentional homicide.
According to CNN, the teen was previously a member of a youth police cadet program. The Associated Press also reports that the teen’s Facebook page is pro-law enforcement and shows him with an assault rifle. The teen also reportedly attended a Trump rally earlier this year, according to BuzzFeed News.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has said the teen “could have been part of” a group of people who wanted him to “deputize people that were carrying guns.”
Pelosi’s comments on “The Late Show” on Wednesday come after she made similar comments on a call hosted by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign earlier in the day.
“What we saw in Kenosha breaks your heart; it does pierce the soul, as was said,” Pelosi said on the call, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“But the encouragement that the president, the acquiescence, if not more than that, that he gives to vigilantes coming in to make matters worse in these situations is something the president should be quelling rather than encouraging,” she added of Trump, who has faced heat from Democrats in recent months for his administration’s use of military force against widespread demonstrations pushing for racial justice following the police killings of Black Americans.
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