The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse — the Illinois teen who shot three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer, killing two, and who was supported by both Fox News ghouls and has-been ’80s stars — started last week, and for the first week-and-a-half it was pretty quiet. That all changed on Wednesday. A lot happened. Rittenhouse himself took the stand and launched into a crying jag that left many doubting its sincerity. The judge melodramatically snapped at the prosecution. And at one point the former’s cellphone went off, which wouldn’t have been that big a deal except for the particularly song that was his ringtone.
Coming back from lunch, Kyle Rittenhouse's defense team argues that the prosecution is purposely aiming for a mistrial.
Meanwhile, the judge's phone rings. The ringtone is Lee Greenwood's patriotic anthem "God Bless the U.S.A" pic.twitter.com/xGY3dJd4e4
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 10, 2021
It was the kind of perfect moment one sees only in movies. The defense team was in the middle of accusing the prosecution of trying to intentionally cause a mistrial — which, of course, they themselves later requested by the end of the day — when Judge Bruce Schroeder’s phone started blasting its ringtone. What was it? Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”
First released in 1984, the tune was Greenwood’s attempt to forge a new patriotic anthem for the era of Reagan and cheesy synths. It was instantly dated and for years fell into obscurity…until it was revived during the Gulf War during the early ’90s…and again after the September 11 attacks. It was dusted off once more by Donald J. Trump, who has long used it as his walk-up song during rallies.
Was this is a giveaway — an accidental admission of Schroeder’s political biases? Or did he simply just really dig the song? Either is likely. And a quick perusal on social media reveals both left and right think Schroeder is against them.
Still, the moment — which would seem too on-the-nose in a work of fiction — did not escape people’s notice:
Judge Schroeder’s phone rings in the middle of the Rittenhouse trial, and it just happens to be the theme song from the Trump rallies when he walks on stage. Go figure. pic.twitter.com/3LE44QwNkB
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) November 10, 2021
BREAKING: Judge Schroeder’s cellphone ringtone was audible during the trial – and it was “God Bless the USA” – the same song Trump plays on stage at his rallies…
Retweet if he needs to be REPLACED for showing BIAS that favors the Defense? ✋
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) November 10, 2021
The song is Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" — it's also the song they played to loud cheers at a soccer stadium full of new citizens at my sister-in-law's naturalization ceremony. If you think this exposes the judge's bias, back off Twitter for a while. https://t.co/cq3j4es45B
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) November 10, 2021
NEW: During Kyle Rittenhouse's trial, Judge Bruce Schroeder's phone went off. The ringtone was "God Bless the USA," a song by Trump supporter Lee Greenwood, who performed at Trump's inauguration. The song was Trump's campaign song in 2016 and 2020.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) November 10, 2021
"God Bless the USA" is the opening song played at every Trump rally.
Lee Greenwood literally sang it at Trump's inauguration.
It is the ringtone of the judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. https://t.co/HpqpTj56ud
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) November 10, 2021
Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” was the anthem played at every Trump rally. Greenwood even performed it live at a Trump rally during the 2020 campaign.
How does the prosecution not call for an immediate mistrial at this point? https://t.co/BXr0xq6dmT
— Brian MD (@bone00afide) November 10, 2021
But he knows enough to program God Bless the USA as his ringtone. I’m calling bullshit. https://t.co/YqmJ7SlK8P
— Pati (@PatiKRoll11) November 10, 2021
(Via The Daily Beast)