Last year, when he was 17 years old, Kyle Rittenhouse traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where unrest in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake had swept the community.
Armed with an AR-15 and claiming to be protecting property and offering medical assistance, Rittenhouse shot three protesters, killing two of them, after a confrontation. That night, he went back to Illinois before later turning himself in.
He was later charged in Wisconsin with varying degrees of homicide and reckless endangerment. Throughout the litigation, Rittenhouse saw widespread support from conservatives. He was later pictured in a bar with multiple members of the far-right Proud Boys militia, wearing a "free as f**k" tee shirt and flashing the white power symbol.
The 18 year old was found not guilty on all charges earlier this year after successfully arguing that he killed the two protesters in self-defense. Immediately, Rittenhouse became a poster child for conservatives who felt unfairly maligned by the media.
As such, Rittenhouse appeared at the far-right young conservative group Turning Point USA's "AmericaFest" conference, where he was celebrated like a rock star.
As he sauntered onstage amid pyrotechnics and a personal theme song, the audience lavished Rittenhouse with a standing ovation. It's one thing to believe he was innocent and that the justice system functioned as it was supposed to, but Rittenhouse's critics were immensely disturbed to see him celebrated for killing two people.
But there was another surprising critic of Rittenhouse's reception: far-right pundit Tomi Lahren.
Lahren, who built an audience with her shockingly right-wing statements and positions, urged conservatives to "step back" from their worship, saying:
"I believe that he was innocent. I believe that he should go after the media for how they have slandered and mischaracterized him. I believe that wholeheartedly, and he should set an example and be that example. However, I do believe that as conservatives we need to be a little careful when it comes to this. ... I think we should step back a little bit and maybe not treat him like he's a rock star or a celebrity. I don't think that's necessarily a good look for the conservative movement."
"He did what he had to do. He was defending himself. Let's talk about self-defense. Let's talk about the riots. Let's talk about how everything went horribly, horribly wrong that day, but I think we should take a step back and maybe not make the man Bon Jovi."
People were shocked to find themselves agreeing with Lahren.
Rittenhouse's breathless greeting from Turning Point continues to generate backlash.
In addition to being celebrated at Turning Point, multiple right-wing lawmakers have courted Rittenhouse to work on their staff.