Buttigieg reacts to Rittenhouse not-guilty verdict: ‘There’s just a lot to be upset about’

Briefing with The Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other senior administration officials

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that there’s “a lot to be upset about” following the not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

Buttigieg was asked by NBC News anchor Chuck Todd to weigh in on the case, which concluded Friday after a jury acquitted Rittenhouse in the fatal shooting of two men during a riot last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a TV interview outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Look, there’s a lot of pain in this country, and that pain and that frustration was aroused by the entire case, including the verdict,” Buttigieg said. “And for a lot of us, there’s just a lot to be upset about, a lot to be concerned about, but we’ll move forward as a country. 

“The president continues to believe and this administration continues to believe in America and we’ve got to continue working to bring Americans together,” he said.

Buttigieg’s comments on the trial were similar to those of President Biden, who said in a statement Friday that the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included.” 

Kyle Rittenhouse reacts as he is found not guilty on all counts at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Nov. 19, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Sean Krajacic – Pool/Getty Images)

The president said the jury’s decision must be respected despite his personal feelings on the matter.

“I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us,” Biden said. “I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law.”

President Joe Biden at the White House on Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Vice President Harris and other Democrats in Congress also weighed in. Harris said the verdict “speaks for itself” and that “it’s clear, there’s still a lot more work to do.”

“The judge. The jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action. This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable,” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., tweeted. “It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., took to Twitter and said a “heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice” and “sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ.”

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