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Thursday, October 1, 2020

DHS officials instructed to make sympathetic comments about Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse

The Department of Homeland Security was given talking points when referring to the teen accused to killing two men

President Trump has sparked outrage for showing sympathy for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with fatally shooting two protesters with an AR-15 rifle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Now it’s being reported that Trump officials were also directed to put a positive spin on the alleged crimes of the anti-BLM gunman as well.

READ MORE: Michelle Obama wants to ‘get out of this chaos’ after Trump-Biden debate

According to internal Department of Homeland Security talking points obtained by NBC News, the president’s team sent documents to federal law enforcement officials urging them to be favorable and complimentary when commenting publicly about Rittenhouse.

This paper trail also outlines how Homeland Security officials were told to note that the young man “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners,” when speaking to the media.

While it remains unclear whether any of these media talking points originally came from the White House or from Homeland Security’s own press office, it is worth noting that they are in alignment with the president’s public messaging.

“What strikes me about the talking points is that they didn’t call for calm among the public,” Elizabeth Neumann, the former assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy for DHS who left the Trump administration in April, told NBC News.

“Even in the early hours after the incident, it was known private militias had self-deployed. …They seemed more interested in Rittenhouse’s reputation than calling for calm and actual law and order.”

However, Homeland Security officials were also told to play up the need for law and order in any conversations about Rittenhouse, NBC News reported. Those instructions read like this:

“This is also why we need to stop the violence in our cities. Chaotic and violent situations lead to chaotic, violent, and tragic outcomes. Everyone needs law and order.”

Asked by NBC for a comment, a spokesman for Homeland Security said the agency does not comment on “alleged leaked documents.”

The president’s questionable messaging choices have been an ongoing dialogue throughout his time in office, but this week many believe he hit a new low during his performance at the first 2020 presidential debate against his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

As reported by theGrio, on Wednesday, following a tidal wave of public dismay regarding what one CNN pundit characterized as a “dumpster fire,” former first lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to offer advice to her followers on how to keep hope alive even as their president appears to be coming undone.

“If you were turned off by the President’s behavior last night, I feel you. Believe me, I do,” Obama wrote. “But we can’t let him win by tuning out altogether. That’s what he wants. So turn those feelings into action—turn them into votes for my friend, @JoeBiden. It’s the only way we can get out of this chaos and restore some stability to this country.”

READ MORE: Kerry Washington joins leaders to launch $10 million racial justice initiative

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

The post DHS officials instructed to make sympathetic comments about Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse appeared first on TheGrio.



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