MSNBC host Joy Reid’s passionate criticism of Kyle Rittenhouse and his “white male tears” has infuriated many conservatives after she compared his testimony to that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Ms Reid was speaking about the trial after the jury was sent home for a second day after being unable to reach a verdict.
Protesters clashed outside the courthouse, prompting police to make two arrests. Law enforcement has surrounded the court in Kenosha, Wisconsin since the start of the week and the National Guard stands at the ready to step in if needed.
In August of last year, Mr Rittenhouse fatally shot two protesters taking part in demonstrations against police violence following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was paralyzed after being shot by a white officer.
The 18-year-old Mr Rittenhouse has claimed that he was “protecting property” and used his rifle in self-defence. He broke down while testifying in court last week, leading to the judge calling a recess for Mr Rittenhouse to collect himself.
Ms Reid argued in a TikTok video that Mr Rittenhouse was using emotion in his testimony in the same way that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh did in 2018 when he testified before Congress after being accused of sexual assault by a high school classmate.
The cable news host said Justice Kavanaugh “cried his way through the hearings to make him a permanent member” of the high court. “His tears turned out to be more powerful than the tears of Christine Blasey Ford. Which were the tears of an alleged victim,” she said.
“But in America, there’s a thing about both white vigilantism and white tears, particularly male white tears. Really, white tears in general, because that’s what Karens are, right? They Karen out, and then as soon as they get caught, it’s bring the waterworks,” she added. “White men can get away with that too. And it has the same effect, even as the right tries to politicize the idea that masculinity is being robbed from American men by multiculturalism and wokeism. They still want to be able to have their tears.”
Conservative commentator Leo Terrell, who, like Ms Reid, is black, accused her of racism while speaking on Fox News.
“Something is wrong with her,” he said. “She is the queen of racism. She has a problem with white men ... Kyle Rittenhouse did not kill any black people.”
“She is not a lawyer,” he added. “And how dare she attack this judge and claim he’s biased? She’s not a lawyer, she’s incompetent to answer these questions. Shame on her, and shame on MSNBC.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Ms Reid mocked “the very idea” of “white tears”.
“People that evil can’t cry,” he said in a mock impersonation of Ms Reid. “They don’t have human emotions because they’re not really human. You don’t have to care about them, they don’t qualify for your compassion. You can laugh as they weep and feel good about it.”
“You often hear the word ‘dehumanize,’” Mr Carlson said. “What does it mean? That’s what it looks like. So you wonder how long this can go on in our country before something really important breaks.”
“What a crazy old racist Joy Reid is,” the Associate Editor of The Spectator, Douglas Murray, tweeted.
Miranda Devine, a columnist at The New York Post, tweeted: “They try to make the Rittenhouse case about race but it’s about class. Wealthy elitists like Joy Reid and Joe Scarborough and Joe Biden punch down at the white working-class son of a single mother because they don’t see him as fully human and it makes them feel good.”
The Independent has reached out to MSNBC for comment.
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