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January 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Nathan Phillips has backed out of a third-party offer to arrange a sit-down with Covington Catholic High School students, and he thinks expulsion should remain under consideration for the young men he approached as they waited for a bus after participating in the March for Life.
The Native American activist further says that in a statement on the now infamous confrontation involving the Catholic students and Phillips, Nick Sandmann “stole” his “narrative” and intentionally lied.
Phillips is making these claims and others of racism and hate despite full video of the incident and ongoing refutation contradicting the original story that the students harassed him, and also despite other reports of disruptive behavior from Phillips and his group in Washington, D.C.
‘He needs to put out a different statement’
Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby had offered to fly Phillips first class to have dinner with the students at one of his restaurants to “break bread and make amends,” but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Phillips refused after seeing Sandmann’s statement.
“He (Sandmann) needs to put out a different statement,” Phillips said. “I'm disappointed with his statement. He didn't accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don't accept it.”
“At first I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded, some fired, for letting this happen,” Phillips said. “For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit that.”
A viral attack
A selectively edited video clip of the incident between Phillips and the teenagers, aided by false reporting from numerous outlets, went viral over the weekend, with the mainstream media spinning the incident with the edited clip to frame reports that the mostly white, Catholic, “hostile” pro-life boys were harassing an elderly, allegedly peacefully praying Phillips.
Throughout the reports the boys were portrayed as willful aggressors to Phillips’ victim. The story went viral, igniting charges of racism.
Upon the full video’s release, however, this was debunked and it was learned the boys were harassed by another radical activist group prior to the confrontation with Phillips, and the boys were verbally, profanely accosted by both them and at least one member of Phillips’ group, which was conducting the “Indigenous Peoples March” at the Lincoln Memorial.
It’s been further made clear with the full video that Phillips approached the boys, and in particular Sandmann, continually beating a drum in the high school junior’s face. The context of the full video shows Sandmann and the other students displayed restraint and remained calm despite provocation from both Phillips’ group and the Black Hebrew Israelites.
Treacherous fallout from false reporting
Aside from slanderous media reporting, the confrontation has also served to expose extreme leftist vitriol, with an avalanche of threats of violence and death, and doxxing of the boys and their families.
School was called off at Covington Catholic and another nearby Catholic school Tuesday and the Diocese of Covington offices closed amid threats of violence and a planned protest. Law enforcement had advised the diocese and schools to remain closed until safety can be guaranteed.
The false media reports and their dangerous outcome were compounded by some pro-life leaders and the boys’ school and diocese, along with at least two other dioceses, condemning the behavior attributed the boys in the absence of investigation of the facts.
Still waiting for a real apology
Some news outlets have tried to backtrack or stealthily change reports. Many news outlets continue to perpetrate the initial narrative, and countless among the media, the pro-life movement, and the Church have yet to fully retract or make an apology.
Catholics continue to call for the school and dioceses to apologize and stand by their students.
There have been multiple reports of lawsuits planned against those who defamed the boys, and that aspect of the story continues to unfold.
Additionally, another mother with a child attending the March for Life posted on Facebook how Phillips and his group, prior to Phillips approaching the Covington students, had also approached her 15-year-old daughter, who was wearing a Trump 2020 hat.
Phillips’ behavior was intimidating, she said, and her daughter’s terrified reaction resulted in him moving on, she said, because this would not have played well in the media.
Catholic News Agency also reported Tuesday afternoon that Phillips led a group of Native American activists chanting and playing drums attempting to enter the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during Saturday evening Mass.
News has also come to light that while he was a veteran of the Marines, Phillips did not actually serve in Vietnam, as he and many claimed.
The March for Life got Nick Sandmann ‘worked up in a frenzy’?
Phillips is also claiming that Sandmann came to the confrontation with him last Friday at the Lincoln Memorial “worked up in a frenzy already” from the March for Life.
The annual March for Life has been well known for decades to all who are cognizant of the pro-life movement as an across-the-board peaceful, prayerful gathering of pro-life advocates from all over the nation and beyond.
In fact it is continually reported to be the model for good behavior among large-scale gatherings in Washington, D.C., in sharp contrast to many much smaller gatherings.
Phillips said that Sandmann “transferred” the hate of the Covington Catholic students to him after the students had allegedly responded with hate to the Black Hebrew Israelites, arguing with the latter group for hours at the Lincoln Memorial.
The students from Covington Catholic High School, located in Park Hills, Kentucky, were gathered near the Memorial waiting for their busses to pick them up later in the day after the March for Life.
It’s about the hats
The media framed the story around the fact that the boys were wearing red hats with the signature Donald Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again,” a point of continued widespread emphasis.
The reports also said the boys were chanting, “build the wall,” which was completely uncorroborated by the video, and disputed by witnesses who said the students had asked to chant their school chant to avoid hearing the slurs being sent their way by the Black Israelite group.
Phillips accused the Covington Catholic students of racism, alleging in a Detroit Free Press report that the Covington Catholic students were attacking the four black members of the Black Hebrew Israelites because they didn’t like what the group was saying. He referred to the students as the beasts in a beasts and prey analogy.
“These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was (sic) their prey,” Phillips stated, “and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”
The young students had a “mob mentality” that “was scary,” claimed Phillips. ”It was ugly, what these kids were involved in. It was racism. It was hatred. It was scary.”
Phillips likened the boys to racists who murdered in pre-civil rights America, stating he recalled “the looks in these young men's faces … I mean, if you go back and look at the lynchings that was done (in America) …and you'd see the faces on the people … The glee and the hatred in their faces, that's what these faces looked like.”
In the Detroit Free Press report, he sided with the Black Israelites who’d called the boys bigoted, homophobic, and racist slurs, saying they were “saying some harsh things, but some of it was true, too.”
That report also said that Phillips said he served in Vietnam.
Blaming Catholic teaching
Phillips also faulted Trump in the report for “feeding the fires of racism” and criticized the Covington students’ Catholic education.
“These young, white American kids who were being taught in their Catholic school, their doctrine, their truth, and when they found out there's more truth out there than what they're being taught, they were offended, they were insulted, they were scared, and that's how they responded.”
In a statement decidedly casting the young Catholic men in a negative light, Phillips, the Indigenous Peoples March and Lakota People’s Law Project – the groups behind the event Phillips was attending when he approached the students – said they were seeking a meeting with Pope Francis.
The statement also criticized President Trump and indicated plans that will likely serve to further pressure the local Catholic Church on the incident.
Phillips offered via the statement to go to Covington Catholic High School “and have a dialog about cultural appropriation, racism, and the importance of listening to and respecting diverse cultures.”
The response to the offer from Catholic leaders remains to be seen amid the conflicting reports of what happened, and the school and the Covington diocese having initiated a third-party investigation of the incident.
Back to Trump
Phillips and his groups’ statement begins saying the video showed Phillips “being mocked by a group of Catholic high school students wearing MAGA (‘Make America Great Again’) hats while he was singing a traditional Native song…” and later speaks of “racial hostility occurred on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, where King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.’”
“I have read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the student who stared at me for a long time,” Phillips said in the statement. “He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony. But I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another.”
It also said “the youths took over and disrespected a sacred space wearing MAGA garb and chanting slogans in support of President Donald Trump.”
The statement went on to say the Covington Catholic High School students “must not understand what their choices in attire and expression represent in a time when our president openly mocks Native Americans and closes the borders to Indigenous children,” and that “racist rhetoric and actions are being normalized at the highest levels of the American government.”
While the statement spoke of meeting with the students and others to “come together and reach a better understanding of each other,” Phillips’ comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer continued in criticism of Sandmann.
‘He stole my narrative’
“He (Sandmann) stole my narrative,” Phillips said. “From the time I hit that first beat of the drum until I hit the last beat, I was in prayer. Now all of a sudden, he’s the prayer guy and the passive one.”
Indeed, extended video footage shows Sandmann remaining silent and passive while Phillips beat his drum inches from the student's face.
Phillips was referencing Sandmann's statement, which said in part, “I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse (sic) the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
Phillips offended by being termed a ‘protester’
Phillips also objected to Sandmann referring to him and his group as “Native American protesters.”
“I take great offense to that term, ‘protester.’ We were not protesting anything,” Phillips said. “In fact, we were the only group with a permit to be there and we were marching for solidarity and for being indigenous people. We were there in prayer. We wanted to make a better America.”
Phillips said it was the Covington Catholic students who were coming from a protest, referring to the March for Life.
“What he came to town for was protesting,” Phillips said. “Anyone who knows about Roe versus Wade knows it isn't a pretty picture. He (Sandmann) had just come from that protest. To me, he came worked up in a frenzy already.”
Phillips said the argument between the students and the Black Hebrew Israelites went on for hours before he “was called by God” to step in.
Phillips: The students responded to hate with hate
“(The Covington students) had an opportunity to not hate and to put out an olive branch and say, let's sit down and pray together,” he said. “Instead, they responded to hate with hate. And (Sandmann) transferred that hate to me.”
The March draws hundreds of thousands of pro-life pilgrims, many young people, to Washington, D.C. each year.
Typically the groups travel by bus for a whirlwind visit, squeezing in sightseeing in the nation’s capital either before or after the March. The trips frequently include the Holocaust Museum, for its parallel significance to abortion, and other sites, such as Arlington National Cemetery and the national monuments, for civic education.
The left and the media by and large continue to assail President Trump. But his polarizing reputation notwithstanding, much of the pro-life movement recognizes he has done more for the pro-life cause in his two years in office than any other president has while in office.
This includes reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy, his judicial nominations and Cabinet appointments, reversal of Obama-era acts that threaten life and religious liberty, strengthening religious freedom protections, signing legislation to empower states to defund Planned Parenthood, and his most recent promise to veto any legislation posing a threat to life that reaches his desk.