Several Republican lawmakers dangled congressional internships for Kyle Rittenhouse, joining a coalition of right-wing voices celebrating the Kenosha shooter after his acquittal on Friday.
“Kyle, if you want an internship reach out to me,” Rep. Madison Cawthorn wrote in the caption of an Instagram story on Friday. He followed fellow GOP representatives Matt Gaetz, who teased an internship for Rittenhouse on Wednesday, and Paul Gosar, who threatened to arm-wrestle Gaetz for the chance to hire the teen as an intern.
Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges on Friday, including two counts of murder stemming from his August 2020 shootings of three people at a Black Lives Matter protest. Rittenhouse, then 17, had traveled interstate with his friend’s gun, in what he characterized as a bid to protect businesses from protesters. He shot three people, in what he and attorneys successfully argued was self-defense. Rittenhouse’s case has been embraced by the far right, including paramilitary groups that heralded his killing of their political foes.
This week, that praise was echoed by lawmakers on the right who took to social media to declare their interest in hiring Rittenhouse.
“He is not guilty and deserves a not guilty verdict,” Gaetz said Wednesday. “You know what, Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern. We might reach out to him and see if he be interested in helping the country in additional ways.”
Gaetz doubled down on Twitter, writing that Rittenhouse would “make a great congressional intern.”
Gosar, who was censured this week for tweeting an anime video about killing his liberal colleagues, made his own bid for Rittenhouse.
“Justice was served for #KyleRittenhouse and he is fully exonerated. As I said last year, obviously self-defense,” Gosar wrote shortly after Rittenhouse’s acquittal. “I will arm wrestle @mattgaetz to get dibs for Kyle as an intern.”
Cawthorn extended his offer on Instagram, and added a call for his followers to carry weapons. “Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral,” said the MAGA lawmaker from North Carolina.
Elsewhere on the internet, far-right figures and groups celebrated Rittenhouse’s acquittal with more explicit calls to violence. The Proud Boys, a group Rittenhouse partied with while out on bond, celebrated with a GIF image mocking the two people Rittenhouse killed. Brien James, a former Proud Boys leader, went further, using his Telegram channel to call for attacks on people outside the courthouse.
“Who wants to go clear out the scum clogging up those court house steps?” James wrote.