Jan 22, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump uses Nick Sandmann controversy to attack "Fake News"

President Trump in a Tuesday morning tweet: "Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good - maybe even to bring people together. It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!"

Driving the news: Sandmann's face became famous on Saturday as he was videotaped wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and smirking while standing in front of a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial.

  • Sandmann was in D.C. for the pro-life March for Life with a group from Covington Catholic High School, a private, all-male school in Kentucky.
  • The first video, which was spread by a now-suspended account purporting to be a California teacher, showed about 50 seconds from a longer scene.
  • Videos that later surfaced showed Black Hebrew Israelites, a religious group known for trollishly evangelizing in East Coast cities, jeering at the Native Americans as well as the Catholic boys, with remarks that were both racist and homophobic. (Warning: The following video contains inappropriate language.)

What they're saying:

  • Native American elder Nathan Phillips, the man Sandmann was videotaped standing in front of, said he moved in the direction of the boys to prevent any violence. Because he moved into the crowd, the boys largely surrounded him.
  • Sandmann said in a statement "that the students began yelling 'school spirit chants' to drown out the protesters and he did not hear students chant anything 'hateful or racist at any time.'"

Go deeper: Catholic boys' encounter gets second look

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to remove a reference that called Nathan Phillips a "Vietnam veteran." An earlier version of the story used the label, but the Washington Post noted Tuesday afternoon that Phillips, who was in the Marines from 1972-76, did not deploy to Vietnam.

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