USA Today Columnist Kirsten Powers Apologizes for ‘Judgmental and Condemning’ Tweets About Covington Students

“I have spent the last few weeks in a mostly Twitter free zone to spend time reflecting on what role I may have played in what indisputably has become a dangerously toxic culture,” CNN contributor says

Last Updated: February 19, 2019 @ 7:33 AM

After a hiatus from Twitter, CNN contributor and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers has returned to apologize for what she says were “judgmental and condemning” tweets about an incident involving Covington High School students, a Native American elder and a group of Black Israelites last month.

“I have spent the last few weeks in a mostly Twitter free zone to spend time reflecting on what role I may have played in what indisputably has become a dangerously toxic culture,” Powers wrote in a Twitter thread on Monday. “I am not proud of what I have found.”

In late January, Powers announced that she was deleting her Twitter app after being harassed online over her criticism of the Covington High School students’ interaction with Native American elder Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C.

“I agree with [Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall] that watching all the videos (which I did) does not change the fundamental problem: the boys disrespecting an Indigenous elder,” Powers wrote on Jan. 22. “The [people] harassing me to change my mind cannot convince me I didn’t see what I saw. Learn to respect difference of opinion.”

In a separate thread, Powers called “BS on the idea that [the Covington students] just burst into cheers randomly.”

An investigation into the incident later found “no evidence of offensive or racist statements” by the students, according to a report posted on the Diocese of Covington website.

On Monday, Powers said she had since realized that in her effort to call out a wrong, she had betrayed her Catholic beliefs.

“As a Catholic I felt duty bound to speak up and hold them accountable, but that really isn’t my job,” she wrote. “I also don’t believe these teenagers should be tarnished forever for what amounts to one really bad day.”

Powers ended her thread with a pledge “to do better.”

“I also hope to be part of a conversation — if we ever have it as a country — about the path to redemption for people who have stumbled and even failed spectacularly,” she wrote. “This is where I plan to put my focus and not on rendering judgements [sic] about other people’s behavior.”

Read her full thread below.