Barry Moore, the Republican candidate expected to win election to Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, shared a post on his Facebook page on Saturday supporting the 17-year-old gunman charged with two counts of homicide after a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The post, which has since been deleted, shows an image of an armed Kyle Rittenhouse next to the words “fought back” underneath two other images of men lying unconscious next to the words “didn’t fight back.”
Moore said that he took the post down because it may have been too graphic for people.
Moore said that he believes Rittenhouse was justified in firing his weapon because he was being attacked.
“I think at that point he had a right to exercise and fire his weapon in self-defense,” he said. “I believe if he had not have, he would have been killed.”
According to a timeline of events that The New York Times created from various pieces of video footage, Rittenhouse first fired his gun at a man who was pursuing him. Many have speculated that the man, Joseph Rosenbaum, fired at Rittenhouse, but the video appears to show the muzzle flash of a gun fired into the air some distance behind Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum in the head, killing him. Rittenhouse was then pursued by protesters who some witnesses said were trying to disarm Rittenhouse, who they knew had just shot someone. Moore said that Rittenhouse had no way of knowing what was about to happen to him.
“An untrained professional who’s terrified does not know where that line in the sand is. A police officer would probably tase them, mace them, they could do whatever but, man, it’s bad business when you’ve got two citizens armed with guns pointed at each other,” he said.
Moore said that he believes that the Second Amendment grants a person the right to defend themselves as Rittenhouse did, but did not condemn him for crossing state lines with a weapon that was illegally in his possession or any of the other charges the teen faces.
“It scares me for our country,” Moore said. “It makes me think that we need law enforcement doing their jobs so that citizens don’t feel that they have to, especially 17-year-old boys.”
Moore’s Democratic challenger in the 2nd Congressional District, Phyllis Harvey-Hall, condemned Moore’s post, calling it divisive. *Updated at 7:52 p.m. to add comments from Phyllis Harvey-Hall.
“Mr. Moore’s decision to share a post defending Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions was wrong,” Harvey-Hall said in a statement. “One would think a lawmaker would know better than to defend extrajudicial killing. As our nation grapples with ending systemic inequality, we need leaders committed to fairness and compassion, not ones who stoke division. This is not Christian conduct and the people of Alabama deserve better.”
The Alabama Democratic Party also criticized Moore’s post. *Updated at 8:50 p.m. to add comments from the Alabama Democratic Party.
“Like Will Dismukes and Mike Hubbard, Rep. Barry Moore is an embarrassment to the state of Alabama and the Republican Party,” said Wade Perry, the executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party. “His post was offensive and indefensible and clearly demonstrates he is unfit to hold public office.”
Moore said he asked his staff to compile statistics about people killed, injured and raped by protesters and property damage done that he planned to share instead.
He said he believed that the meme showed two people who had been killed in riots who hadn’t fought back, but neither incident resulted in any deaths.
The first image shows a man who confronted protesters with a sword in Dallas in May lying in the street. The image is taken from a video that went viral. In it, the man confronts protesters and chases one with the sword before being swarmed by protesters and knocked unconscious.
Twitter user C.A. Shoultz claimed to be that person in a series of posts published soon after. He suffered minor injuries and blamed himself for “bravery to the point of stupidity,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The second image depicted Adam Haner, a man who was beaten unconscious in Portland earlier this month. Haner was involved in several confrontations with protesters before he crashed his truck and things escalated, resulting in a man kicking him in the head from behind. Haner was hospitalized with serious injuries, and a 25-year-old man turned himself in to face a felony assault charge.