Joe Biden Faces Conservative Backlash After Saying He's 'Angry' Over Rittenhouse Verdict

President Joe Biden has faced some backlash online after making two statements in the space of a little over an hour about the outcome in the trial of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts by a jury on Friday. He had faced multiple charges, including first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Biden suggested he respected the decision of the jury but just over an hour later the White House issued a longer statement expressing the president's anger and concern.

Biden said that he hadn't watched the trial and just heard about the verdict when reporters asked him about it. One journalist asked if he stood by a previous comparison between Rittenhouse and white supremacists.

That comparison had been made in a tweet sent by Biden's official account in September, 2020 and accompanied a clip of an interview with former President Donald Trump.

"Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded," Biden told journalists at the White House.

"The jury system works and we have to abide by it," he said.

The White House later issued a longer statement about Biden's reaction to the trial that appeared to strike a different note.

"While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken. I ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us," the statement 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," it said.

Biden's statement urged people to "express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy."

Some Twitter users, and particularly conservatives, offered criticism of Biden for what they saw as a change in his official position, while others pointed to the 2020 tweet and called on the president to apologize to Rittenhouse.

"Biden's proper posture about the Rittenhouse verdict -- respect for the jury's decision -- lasts about an hour, as he now issues a statement declaring himself 'angry' over what the jury did, while trying to convince others not to let their anger convert into violence," tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald.

John Cooper, acting director for media at the conservative Heritage Foundation also noted the timing of the two statements and went further, saying: "Biden is not in charge of this administration."

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) tweeted: "Joe Biden is 'angry and concerned'? He slandered Kyle Rittenhouse as a white supremacist. If he had any decency, Biden would apologize publicly —not attack the jury for following the law."

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia's 14th district also reacted to Biden's written statement and referred to his warning against the use of violence.

"@JoeBiden is angry & concerned that the jury found Kyle Rittenhouse NOT GUILTY after being shown mountains of evidence proving his innocence," Greene tweeted.

"Biden calling for 'peaceful protest' now against the verdict. We all know what it means when the left calls for 'peaceful 'protest.." she wrote.

Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump's eldest son, suggested that the verdict was a blow to Biden personally.

"The Rittenhouse jury just gave Biden his second colonoscopy of the day," Trump Jr. tweeted.

Biden underwent a routine colonoscopy under anesthesia on Friday.

Conservative columnist Todd Starnes tweeted: "If Biden is angry now just wait until he's served Rittenhouse's defamation lawsuit."

That's a reference to speculation about Rittenhouse taking a defamation suit against Biden over the September 2020 tweet, which has also been widely discussed on social media in the wake of the verdict.

Benny Johnson, chief creative officer at conservative group Turning Point USA, said the president was "proving what a cretinous piece of sh*t he is by calling the unanimous Rittenhouse NOT GUILTY Verdict 'concerning' and saying he is 'angry' about it."

Author Don Winslow, by contrast, suggested that Biden should have offered no comment to reporters at the time of his initial statement.

"I really wish that when President Biden was asked today about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict he would have simply said 'I am not going to comment on that,'" Winslow tweeted. "Instead his answer will come back to haunt him and us."

Update 11/20/21 06.34 a.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include more information.

Joe Biden Speaks to the Press
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the press after a Marine One arrival at the South Lawn of the White House November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden was criticized on Friday for comments he made following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Alex Wong/Getty Images