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Tipsheet

Head of NAACP on 'Face the Nation' Claims 'It's Not About Evidence of [Rittenhouse] Being White Supremacist'

Face the Nation, Twitter

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson, made his rounds this weekend sharing his thoughts about the "not guilty" verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. On Friday, as I highlighted, while on MSNBC's "The Last Word," he claimed this was "worse than the Emmett Till trial." On Sunday, during his appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Johnson said about Rittenhouse that "it's not about the evidence of him being a white supremacist," despite how he has gone on to rant and rave about "white supremacy" in this trial.

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Host Margaret Brennan reminded Johnson that he called the verdict "dangerous," with Johnson claiming "it's hard for African-Americans to reconcile what we witnessed in that trial."

He also continued to peddle lies about the facts of the case, claiming "here you have a 17-year-old who illegally purchased a gun..." As fact-checks have reminded, based on the evidence that came out in the trial, which the jury heard even if Johnson did not, is that the gun was purchased by an 18-year old friend of Rittenhouse, Dominick Black. 

To its credit, a tweet from the official Face the Nation account corrected Johnson's statement.

The conversation quickly addressed the issue of "white supremacy," though Johnson was dismissive about the idea that evidence isn't what the situation is about. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Kyle Rittenhouse, as you know, has become this sort of icon for some within the conservative movement. He was used back -- during the campaign by the - - by the then Biden campaign team in a campaign video that positioned him as a white supremacist. His mother said that was defamatory to him.

The bottom line is, this is being politicized. And I'm wondering what you think the impact of that is.

DERRICK JOHNSON: Well, the current political environment has allowed for this type of behavior. The prior administration's opened the door. And many individuals who operate under the banner of white supremacy have run through the door, whether it's Charlottesville or the killings in Pittsburgh at the synagogue, or in Louisville.

And, unfortunately, until we have mature politicians willing to stand up, regardless of political affiliations, and address the questions of mob violence, vigilantism, but more importantly, the underlying issue of race in this country, something we have never truly addressed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But there is no evidence of him being a white supremacist himself, correct?

DERRICK JOHNSON: Well, it's not about the evidence of him being a white supremacist. It is about the position that individuals like him find themselves in where they think they have to go and protect property because of peaceful protest in some cases of Black Lives Matter organizing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

DERRICK JOHNSON: Black Lives Matter is a values proposition. It's not an organization, in one sense, it's not about a hash tag, it's a value proposition that the lives of African-Americans have been diminished, and our lives matter. And when you have scenarios like what took place in Wisconsin that caused people to stand up for this police officer who paralyzed another innocent individual, you have to begin to ask -- we have to ask ourselves the questions, do we value the lives of not only African-Americans, but everyone? And what -- what he did was take up the mantle because the political climate allowed for him to do that.

We had a white supremacist in the White House, and it opened the door to this floodgate of vigilante violence. And that's the real question here.

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One could argue that it's always about evidence, if you're going to go ahead and associate someone with white supremacy or call them a white supremacist. 

The protest in question was also not peaceful, which is why Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, testifying they tried to gran for his gun. Huber had also hit Rittenhouse with his skateboard. 

The jury heard testimony and decided that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, which is why they found him not-guilty. 

Rittenhouse also shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived and testified on the stand that Rittenhouse did not shoot him until he aimed his handgun at him and advanced towards him. 

Johnson had made similar remarks about white supremacy during his Friday night media appearance. "This is the legacy of the Trump administration. It is about the otherness and emboldens so many people, whether it's in Charlottesville or the synagogue in Pittsburgh, or in this case where people feel like it is okay to display their white supremacist behavior in the public square," he had said. 

Johnson's tweet about the verdict, also from Friday mentioned "white supremacy" as well, as did his official statement for the NAACP. 

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Brennan herself pointed out, though, there is no evidence Rittenhouse is a white supremacist, something a CNN article with the headline "Things we learned from Kyle Rittenhouse's trial that challenge assumptions about the case," was also forced to admit. 

Joe Biden, as the Democratic nominee, had also called Rittenhouse a white supremacist. 

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