Should right wing activist Kyle Rittenhouse be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, alongside President George Washington, pioneer Thomas Edison, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, activist Nelson Mandela and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene believes so. This week, Greene introduced a bill in the U.S. House to award Rittenhouse Congress’ highest honor nearly two weeks after the 18-year-old was acquitted of killing two men and injuring another one with an AR-15 style semiautomatic weapon during the Jacob Blake protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020.
Greene, an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, is determined to persuade Congress to award Rittenhouse its highest award for distinguished Americans and institutions who achieved outstanding contributions to society. While Greene and Rittenhouse’s supporters say he deserved to be acquitted of murder, legal analysts and civil rights activists say he does not deserve Congress’ highest award for his self-proclaimed vigilantism.
Greene introduced the bill this week, but the text of the proposed resolution hasn’t been submitted as of Crusader press time Wednesday, December 1.
Greene believes Rittenhouse should be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal because he protected the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the Blake protests on August 25, 2020.
Rittenhouse, then 17, traveled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin. A Blue Lives Matter supporter, Rittenhouse joined armed civilians who took to the city’s streets after Blake was shot seven times by a white police officer. Blake survived the shooting but was left partially paralyzed.
As he was chased by some protesters, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. He wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27.
After the shooting, Rittenhouse walked the streets of Kenosha with his rifle along with law enforcement officers who were alerted by protestors of Rittenhouse’s actions. Rittenhouse eventually turned himself in before he was charged with six counts of first-degree intentional murder.
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who throughout the trial lashed out at the prosecutors, dismissed the curfew violation charge against Rittenhouse, citing a lack of evidence. On November 19, 2021, Rittenhouse was acquitted of all other charges.
Following the verdict, Congressman Greene sent out numerous tweets on Twitter, praising the verdict. One of her tweets said Rittenhouse’s “white skin doesn’t make him a white supremacist and that the AR-15 saved his life.” Many Blacks believe the Rittenhouse case is a blatant example of white privilege.
Rittenhouse’s acquittal was celebrated by other Republicans in Congress, who congratulated him and described his actions as a stand for Second Amendment rights. Congressmen Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said they would hire Rittenhouse as an intern in their congressional offices.
However, Joel Valdez, a spokesman for Congressman Gaetz, told the Washington Post, “We are concerned that awarding Kyle with a Congressional Gold Medal will give him a big head during the internship with our office.”
Greene’s proposed resolution says Rittenhouse protected the city during what she called a “Black Lives Matter riot.”
The proposal will fail. The measure requires two-thirds of the Democratic-controlled House and Senate to approve it before it goes to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The proposal must also be approved by President Joe Biden, who equated Rittenhouse with white supremacists during his 2020 campaign.
After he was acquitted, Rittenhouse said President Biden defamed his character when the president tweeted out a video suggesting he is a white supremacist.
Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.