Republican Radio Host Suggests We 'Need' Kyle Rittenhouse Free for Election Day

A former GOP congressional candidate turned radio host has been criticized after suggesting "what if we need" teenage double murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse during Election Day as the 17-year-old's bail was set.

Jesse Kelly, who twice unsuccessfully ran for seats in Arizona in 2010 and 2012, made the remark while tweeting out a link to an article detailing how Rittenhouse was ordered on a $2m cash bail during his first court appearance in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Monday.

"But what if we need him tomorrow?" Kelly tweeted.

Rittenhouse is accused of traveling from his hometown in Antioch, Illinois, to join up with militia groups attending Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha on August 25.

The 17-year-old has been charged with murdering Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum in two separate shootings on the night, as well as injuring another.

His lawyers say the 17-year-old was acting in self-defense and traveled to Kenosha to protect the city from those rioting at the protests. They add he was also there to provide medical care to the injured people and is in no way affiliated with any white supremacist groups.

Kelly's tweet arrives following widespread fears that there could be violence or voter intimidation committed by far-right and militia groups on election night, with buildings in several cities being boarded up in preparation for any potential unrest on Tuesday.

Musician Questlove was one of those who spoke out against Kelly's tweet, which appears to promote the shooting of protesters on Tuesday.

"So...this cool with y'all Twitter," he wrote to his 3.4 million followers.

Author Ron Hogan added: "I think the main takeaway here is that Jesse Kelly, whoever that is, is a coward who would rely on a teenage boy to go to battle for him should it ever come to that. In this, he's probably a perfect representative of the Republican Party."

Kelly has been contacted for comment.

Bail for the teenager was set at $2m after the Kenosha County Circuit Court heard arguments that he is a flight risk. His attorney, Mark Richards, asked Court Commissioner Loren Keating to set bail at $750,000, whereas one of his victim's father, John Huber, sought bail to be set between $4 million and $10 million.

"It's not about self defense," John Huber told the court, reported Kenosha News.

"My son was killed. Another man was killed. They didn't deserve to be killed. And we don't have that society where we just let people kill people."

One of Rittenhouse's attorneys, Lin Wood, is attempting to raise the bail needed from his supporters, claiming they were $600,000 short on Monday.

"The $2M is for required cash bail. Not for attorney's fees & expenses. Bail is now priority," Wood tweeted.

"Without support of Freedom Loving Americans, Kyle will remain in jail. With NO evidence against him & video evidence proving beyond any dispute that he acted in self-defense."

Kyle Rittenhouse
A man wears a shirt calling for freedom for Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, the man who allegedly shot protesters in Wisconsin, during a US President Donald Trump Campaign Rally, in Londonderry, New Hampshire on August 28, 2020. On Monday, Rittenhouse was ordered on a $2m cash bail during his first court appearance. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty