‘I can’t say I’m sorry’: Trump hat teen Nick Sandmann defends himself over Native American encounter | US News
A US high school student has said he wished he “walked away and avoided” his encounter with a Native American protester.
Nick Sandmann was filmed apparently smirking while standing just a few feet from Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday in a video that has gone viral.
But the teenager said he did not intend to be disrespectful, insisting “I’d like to talk to [Mr Phillips]”
“I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing. But I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there,” he told NBC’s Today programme.
Asked if he felt he owed anyone an apology or has assumed fault for the clash, he instead blamed a group of black men styling themselves as Hebrew Israelites who were also there.
The men were filmed taunting and insulting both the indigenous people gathered with Mr Phillips and the boys, many of whom, including Sandmann, wore red hats bearing President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
“They started shouting a bunch of homophobic, racist, derogatory comments at us. I heard them call us incest kids, bigots, racists. They called us f*****s,” Nick Sandmann said.
The Covington Catholic High School students, who were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally, outnumbered their aggressors but the teenager said he “definitely felt threatened.”
Nathan Phillips, a tribal elder, activist and Vietnam War veteran, was singing and playing a drum as he took part in an indigenous people’s march.
He locked eyes with Nick Sandmann while around them some of the teenager’s classmates from the private, all-male school in Kentucky, were seen dancing and jumping around, apparently mocking Mr Phillips.
Some were also wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts and one removed his top.
President Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday the White House has “reached out and voiced our support” to Nick Sandmann and his fellow students.
She said no one understands better than Donald Trump when the media jumps to conclusions and “attacks you for something you may or may not have done.”
On Tuesday, Mr Trump defended the students, tweeting that they had been “smeared by the media” and had become “symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be”.