Trump supports students in viral video mix-up
by Harvest Prude
Posted 1/22/19, 11:33 am
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump expressed support Tuesday for a Catholic high school student and his classmates who have received threats after their encounter Friday with a Native American man in Washington, D.C., went viral. “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be,” the president tweeted Tuesday. “They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good.”
The short video that went viral on social media Saturday showed a group of male students from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., appearing to surround and chant at a Native American man, Nathan Phillips. The students, who were in the nation’s capital for the March for Life, had gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to board buses to take them back to Kentucky. Some of the students wore red Make America Great Again hats. While they were waiting, a group of protesters known as the Black Hebrew Israelites started shouting racial and sexual insults at them. The students responded by starting school chants to drown out the insults after receiving permission from their adult chaperones. Phillips said he thought the boys’ chants were an attempt to disrespect Native American culture, so he approached them while pounding on his drum. Another longer video showed another Native American demonstrator with Phillips yelling at the boys.
Outrage ensued on the internet, particularly aimed at junior Nick Sandmann, who was inches away from Phillips in the video. An online mob began to shame the perceived disrespectfulness of the students, but additional footage revealed that the students had not tried to confront Phillips. Sandmann released a statement Sunday explaining that he had been startled by the confrontation and had not sought to engage with anyone. “I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us,” he wrote.
After Sandmann and other students received threats of violence, their school canceled classes Tuesday.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.