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Kyle Rittenhouse trial judge's Trump-themed 'God Bless the USA' ringtone sparks outrage

The ringtone reverberated through the courtroom and when the camera panned over to Judge Schroeder, he appeared to be silencing his cellphone
Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony interrupted by judge's Trump-themed ringtone (Twitter)
Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony interrupted by judge's Trump-themed ringtone (Twitter)

Kyle Rittenhouse taking a stand during his murder trial made headlines for more than just his weeping and Judge Bruce Schroeder's heated admonishment of the prosecution. Rittenhouse’s highly anticipated testimony was temporarily interrupted when the judge's cell phone rang.

Rittenhouse, who has killed two and wounded a third during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, is pleading self-defense. The judge's cell phone rang soon after the lunch break. Although it was not immediately clear as to whose phone rang, the ringtone reverberated through the courtroom and when the camera panned over to Judge Schroeder, he appeared to be silencing his cellphone. The moment would not have been worth remembering and would have been quickly forgotten if the ringtone did not turn out to be Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem 'God Bless the USA', which was made famous by former President Donald Trump, who always walked out to the theme at his rallies.


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'When a ringtone says the quiet part out loud'


Twitter user Ron Filipkowski started the outrage by tweeting a clip of the moment online with the caption, “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.”

The reactions soon started pouring in. "'I’m not biased. I’m an impartial jurist' Phone rings. 'Hold on a second. It’s MAGA headquarters.... What’s up Bannon?!'" one said, while another noted, "When a ringtone says the quiet part out loud."

One more commented, "At this point I'm shocked his robe isn't a white hood." The next remarked, "Random Announcement: Mediocrity can be found at all levels of society." Another quipped, "Are we sure the whole trial isn’t an SNL skit."

Another said, "This is beyond not normal, quirky, eccentric, certainly not harmless. It creates at least the appearance that politics are injected into the courtroom, and that the judge is indifferent to that. For many observers it will be taken as confirmation of that."

A commenter tweeted, "Lee Greenwood's 'Proud to be an American.' That alone is grounds for a mistrial if the jury heard it." One more wrote, "What kind of Judge takes phone calls while presiding on the bench during a jury trial? *That* kind of judge, that's who; and who has demonstrated that he shouldn't be on the bench in the first place. This is not normal."

Another said, "This has to be judicial malpractice? Unacceptable on some level? I mean, right?" A person reacted with, "The Rittenhouse trial is fixed. He will get off. Every time the prosecutor makes a point or traps Rittenhouse in a lie, the judge intervenes to stop him. This is one of the most egregious examples of the lack of equal justice in this country that I have witnessed."











'God Bless the USA' became a rallying cry after 9/11. However, after 2016, the song and Greenwood himself have come to be associated with Trump. The Hill reported that the song had “become synonymous with Trump’s rallies" in 2019, when Trump put Greenwood on the board of the Kennedy Center,

Greenwood also sang 'God Bless the USA' at Trump’s inauguration and surprised Trump by singing it at a 2018 rally. Greenwood was also seen campaigning for Trump last year.