President Trump offered a full-throated defense of the killing of Michael Reinoehl, the Portland man suspected of killing a member of a right-wing group last month, claiming that Reinoehl’s shooting by law enforcement officials was the inevitable price to be paid for his alleged crimes.
“This guy was a violent criminal and the US Marshals killed him,” Trump told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro in an interview that aired Saturday. “And I will tell you something: That’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.”
The remarks, which essentially encouraged extrajudicial murders by US police, come as the latest in the president’s open promotion of violence against his perceived political enemies. He holds his supporters to a very different standard. Less than two weeks ago, he defended the 17-year-old Trump fan suspected of killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back. In the case of that suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, Trump stressed that the situation was still under investigation, suggesting that it was important to let the justice system play out before rushing to any conclusions.
Trump’s call to reserve judgment doesn’t appear to extend to Reinoehl, who an eyewitness says was killed by police without warning. The morning after his interview with Pirro aired, Trump on Sunday similarly demanded that prosecutors pursue a “fast trial death penalty” for the person suspected of shooting two police officers in Los Angeles.
If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this! https://t.co/K3sKh28GjX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2020