JD Vance Eviscerated for Saying We Should 'Promote' the 'Virtues' of Kyle Rittenhouse
After his recent acquittal, the American Right continues to lionize Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage vigilante who traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin during unrest in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse claimed to be there in order to protect property and provide medical help. He armed himself with an AR-15 before shooting three people, killing two of them, later arguing he acted in self-defense.
In the days since Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts, the far-right has leapt to promote him and his actions. At least four members of Congress are publicly offering him positions on their teams. Others are encouraging others to follow Rittenhouse's lead. Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, praising Rittenhouse, encouraged his supporters to remain "armed" and "dangerous." GOP Congresswoman and prominent conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene called on her Twitter followers to buy AR-15s.
Now J.D. Vance—an author and candidate for an Ohio seat in the U.S. Senate—has joined the jangling chorus of Republicans singing Rittenhouse's praises and encouraging the "virtues" of vigilante violence.
JD Vance says we should “promote the types of virtues that exist in Kyle Rittenhouse" because he “made good decisions" and “decided to be a positive force in his community." #OHSen pic.twitter.com/zfbLg9Niyx
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) November 24, 2021
Alongside a picture of Rittenhouse marching in the streets with an assault rifle, Vance said:
"Instead of saying, 'Isn't it good that a 17 year old raised by a single mother made good decisions and decided to be a positive force in his community,' they slandered and lied about him. They treated basic manly virtue as white supremacy. ... It's about what kind of young men do we want to raise in our communities, what kind of virtues do we want our leaders to promote? Certainly not the people who are burning Kenosha, Wisconsin down. We want to promote the types of virtues that exist in Kyle Rittenhouse."
This is only the latest development in Vance's continued rightward swing. Once thought to be a moderate, Vance has defended the white supremacist "great replacement" theory and embraced fascist talking points, like calling professors "the enemy."
People found his comments on Rittenhouse revolting.
This is absolutely the most irresponsible thing a republican politician could say about a vigilante. https://t.co/xnpQvOCU9y
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) November 24, 2021
So we should promote teenagers taking assault rifles and going out and starting a firefight in a public place https://t.co/uKhU00I66c
— Zinnia Jones (@ZJemptv) November 24, 2021
I, on the other hand, don't think it's a good idea to give minors semi-automatic rifles and send them into a riot zone. Nor do I think it's in any way admirable when they flash the "White Power" sign with fans, afterwards. https://t.co/OThMKHGlco
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) November 24, 2021
Honestly the transition to virtue-signaling off the backs of child soldiers is not something I expected to see until the next hunger games. https://t.co/jBoEmRdOeM
— DumpsterFire45 (@DFire45) November 24, 2021
This is sick. https://t.co/dmQaRZeUjw
— Mark Romano, Ex-GOP (@DLPodcaster) November 24, 2021
Sickening to see them cozy up to a murderer. https://t.co/L5JGUwQZ3Z
— Valerie Solanas (@DeirdreMDay) November 24, 2021
More broadly, the GOP's rush to beatify Rittenhouse has many Americans deeply concerned.
It's the precedent it sets. It's the good ol' days again. If you're an aggrieved white person you can take the law and guns into your own hands, stand your ground, be a violent vigilante, and send a message so they all know who's boss. Don't even have to wear hoods anymore.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 19, 2021
The GOP is the party that lionizes bros who cross state lines to commit crimes involving minors, but yeah both parties are totes the same. https://t.co/hBQdlpRrjr
— Lauren Windsor (@lawindsor) November 18, 2021
This year's hottest new Republican accessory is Kyle Rittenhouse, who went out and killed two people in the street.
They're literally fighting over who gets to stand next to him.
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) November 24, 2021
Vance's biggest competition in the GOP primary for Ohio's Senate seat is Josh Mandel, who also praises Rittenhouse.