Donald Trump Jr. penned his first Op-Ed for Breitbart on Thursday, blasting the media for their coverage of Covington Catholic High School, and calling their reporting of the story a “hoax.”
“America just got its best look ever at the true face of ‘fake news’ when journalists set their sights on a group of teenagers from Kentucky,” the first son wrote, attacking the media for “taking tiny, incomplete video clips at face value and uncritically reprinting the accounts of left-wing activists.”
“Let me be perfectly clear. The Covington Catholic High School students did nothing wrong,” Trump Jr. continued. “The high schoolers responded more maturely than most of us probably would if someone started beating a drum in our face, and showed far more restraint than the people who called for them to be mutilated and killed.”
Trump, who has become one of his father’s most effective surrogates online and on television, virtually never pens formal editorials, making the post something of a coup for the conservative website.
The Covington story first came to wide public attention over the weekend after students from the Catholic school were seen seemingly jeering an Omaha tribal elder. The initial video featuring Covington student Nick Sandmann and Native American Nathan Phillips fueled passions for days.
The Catholic Diocese of Covington condemned the incident, while the high school itself promised an investigation and floated the possibility of expulsion, internet sleuths — like ex-Vanity Fair writer Kurt Eichenwald — said the kids involved should all be denied work “in perpetuity.” He also shared close ups of every student’s face to his Twitter account so they could be identified. A writer for GQ urged his followed to doxx the students. A writer for Vulture said he wished the students and their families would die. (He was later fired from his day job as a result of the tweet)
Longer footage of the episode from more angles, however, suggested the story was more complicated than first thought. Reason Editor Robby said the media botched the whole thing in a widely circulated article for the Libertarian publication.
“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.”
On the “Today” show this week, Sandmann remained defiant, telling Savannah Guthrie that while he regretted not just walking away, he would not apologize to Phillips because he didn’t feel he had done anything wrong. Phillips responded a day later on the same program attacking the student as “coached” and lacking sincerity.
“As far as standing there, I had every right to do so. My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him,” Sandmann said “But I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there.”