(NewsNation Now) — Kyle Rittenhouse says he does not want to get involved in politics “at all” and believes his case “should never have been used as a cause” for any political agendas, just days after he was found not guilty of all charges stemming from a deadly shooting in Wisconsin last year.
“To me, this case is about the right to self-defense, not where you fall left or right,” Rittenhouse said during a one-on-one interview with Ashleigh Banfield.
Rittenhouse says he did “what I had to do” when he shot three men, killing two of them, as protests were taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer.
Some have called him a vigilante. Others believe he is a patriot and have contributed money to support him.
“With the donors who donated, I don’t believe I owe them a political stance, but I do owe them a huge thank you,” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse says he doesn’t believe his “donors are political,” but after Friday’s verdict, the teen was reportedly offered internships from multiple Republican congressmen.
“I do not plan on accepting any internships,” Rittenhouse said. “I don’t want to get involved in politics at all. I know nothing about it.”
The 18-year-old also believes the case had nothing to do with race, saying he believes a Black man in his position would have been acquitted of the same charge.
“If he had the same resources and everything, which I believe he would have,” Rittenhouse said. “It’s about the right to self-defense, and the jury would have got it right.”
Rittenhouse told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, but when Banfield asked about the comment, he would only affirm his belief in their right to peacefully protest.
Rittenhouse said he is still processing last week’s verdict. If it had come down the other way, he could have faced life in prison.
“It wasn’t something that I tried to think about,” Rittenhouse said. “I just tried to focus on the positive, but there was always that possibility that I could spend the rest of my life in prison.”
Rittenhouse said he wasn’t surprised by the verdict, despite breaking down in the courtroom.
“I was just broken down with emotion and happiness that the jury got it correct.” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse also talked about his emotional testimony, which he said stemmed from having post-traumatic stress disorder, and why he felt like it was important for him to “tell the truth” on the stand.
During the one-on-one interview, the teen also reflected on what happened the night of the shooting.
“If I would have known that I had to take two lives, I don’t think I would have gone there,” Rittenhouse said. “But we can’t change that.”
Despite having regrets about that night, the teen doubled down on the need to shoot the victims.
“Nobody ever wants to have to kill somebody,” Rittenhouse said. “But I was forced to defend myself.”
It is a situation that still haunts him.
“I have nightmares of them killing me, if I didn’t defend myself,” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse is also still dealing with the fallout from everything that happened after the shooting. The Illinois teen believes he was used as a pawn by his former attorneys, John Pierce and Lin Wood.
Rittenhouse said Pierce “arranged” for him to be at a bar full of Proud Boys members, who he thought were just “construction dudes.”
“I definitely don’t think it looks good to hang out with people who are now known to be Proud Boys,” Rittenhouse said. “I definitely wouldn’t do that again.”
In the interview, Rittenhouse called Wood “insane.” and said Wood thinks he is God.
“We fired him because he was like going on with all this QAnon and election fraud stuff and just stuff we don’t agree with,” Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse said that as the verdict in his case was coming down, Wood and his attorneys filed a motion saying they want back the $2 million they raised for him.
Wood called Rittenhouse’s characterization of him “asinine” and defended his foundation’s work to secure donations for the teen.
The teen may also be filing his own lawsuits moving forward. Banfield asked Rittenhouse if he is considering suing President Joe Biden and the media for defamation.
“I have really good civil attorneys that are handling all these issues,” Rittenhouse said, without elaborating.
As for his personal life, Rittenhouse says he wants it to be as normal as possible.
“I don’t like, really like, when, like, fans recognize me or anti-fans recognize me,” Rittenhouse said.
He says so far, he hasn’t had a negative encounter and hopes it stays that way. He plans to move out of Illinois to somewhere else, but when asked where, would only say in “America.”
“I am considering changing my name and growing a beard,” Rittenhouse said. “Maybe losing some weight. I gained it all back during this stressful time. And just changing my appearance.”
The 18-year-old wants to reenroll in classes at Arizona State University and hopes to attend in person. He’d like to pursue a career in nursing.
“I’m just a normal 18-year-old kid trying to move on with my life and just want to live in peace and attend college and study,” Rittenhouse said.