Conservatives debate whether making a celebrity out of Kyle Rittenhouse is distasteful

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A debate has emerged on the conservative right over whether Kyle Rittenhouse should be celebrated as a celebrity or even a hero over all that he’s done and been through.

As a 17-year-old teen, he traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin last year with the arguably noble pure and intentions of providing medical care and protecting businesses from violent left-wing extremists who were rioting on behalf of a sexual abuser who’d recently been justifiably non-fatally shot by the police.

While in the process of trying to extinguish a fire that the extremists had set, he was chased by three rioters and forced to open fire, killing two and injuring a third. The two dead rioters were later identified as longtime criminals, one a convicted child molester and the other a convicted domestic abuser.

Following the incident, Rittenhouse was ruthlessly smeared by left-wing activists and the establishment press as a cold-hearted murderer and white supremacist. Despite these fierce attacks from the left, he ultimately triumphed last month when a jury acquitted him of all charges in accordance with the overwhelming evidence.

He’s since become somewhat of a star, to the point that he received a rock star welcome earlier this week at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest conference in Phoenix.

Because of his noble intentions and the final outcome in his case, many on the right view him as a celebrity and hero. They argue that Rittenhouse was forced into this position and has earned the right to “profit” from it both in fame and fortune:

But not every conservative agrees. At least two prominent conservatives have in recent days tut-tutted those among their peers who are celebrating Rittenhouse.

One is Kira Davis of RedState.

After Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert posted an innocent photo Tuesday of her posing alongside Rittenhouse, Davis cried foul.

“This kid got a raw deal and has been through hell, but he still killed two people. It is so distasteful to be making a celebrity out of him. I find the giddiness with which ppl approach KR to be disturbing. Taking a life is a heavy burden, regardless of the circumstances,” she tweeted.


The tweet provoked a furious comeback from the likes of Jenna Ellis and Tammy Bruce, among others.


Davis responded to the criticism by conceding that Rittenhouse does deserve credit for standing up to the rule of law and the Second Amendment.

Her concern, she continued, is his mental health. She’s worried that the now 18-year-old man may be hiding inner turmoil and anguish.


To be fair to Davis’s critics, the shooting happened nearly a year and a half ago, and so Rittenhouse has perhaps had enough time to process it mentally.

Davis also argued that “making someone a star for killing ppl is downright dystopian,” but critics pushed back on this logic by noting that if this were true, it would be also be “dysopian” to celebrate military soldiers returning from war:

One could argue that it’d also be “dystopian” to celebrate women who kill to defend themselves from rapists.

Former Trump era White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has also spoken out in defense of Rittenhouse. Tuesday on Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” she argued that conservatives are celebrating him because they know what it feels like to be persecuted by the left.

“It is my firm belief that a lot of people in this room, a lot of conservatives, watched the Rittenhouse trial and felt a feeling that they personally feel in their lives all too often, which is being demonized, ostracized, vilified because you’re a young conservative,” she said.

“I hear it left and right here from students who just feel if they speak up, they’re going to be totally mischaracterized by their professor, their fellow students, and I think they saw a little bit of that in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.”

It’s the same reason why so many on the right adore former President Donald Trump. While certainly an imperfect man, he was that rare breed of Republican who was willing to actually stand up to the bullies and smear merchants of the left.

But Fox News host Tomi Lahren wasn’t entirely convinced.

“I think we should step back a little bit and maybe not treat him like he is a rock star or a celebrity. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good look for the conservative movement,” she argued.

Vivek Saxena


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