President Trump said Tuesday that the students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School had become symbols of the fake news media in the United States and “how evil it can be.”
“Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be,” the president wrote to his more than 57 million followers on Twitter. “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!”
It was Trump’s second foray into an issue that dominated social media all weekend. On Monday evening, the president tweeted approvingly of Tucker Carlson’s monologue on Covington students, calling out the mainstream media.
“Looking like Nick Sandmann & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false — smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback!” he said.
On Friday, Sandmann and fellow students were involved in a tense standoff at the Lincoln Memorial with Native Americans in town for the indigenous people’s march. Video of the moment, which appeared to show the students mocking Omaha tribal elder Nathan Phillips, sent many on social media into a fury.
Prominent journalists called the students racist, with some advocating that their personal information be released. One writer for Vulture tweeted his wish to see the teenagers and their parents die.
Longer video which emerged later however painted a more nuanced picture of what happened. In a widely shared article, Reason Editor Robby Soave said the media had botched the story.
“Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby,” wrote Soave. “Phillips put himself between the teens and the black nationalists, chanting and drumming as he marched straight into the middle of the group of young people.”