Trump: Media made Covington students ‘symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be’
January 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump issued his second tweet Tuesday morning in defense of the Catholic students at the center of a viral video from the March for Life, saying their case symbolizes the depths to which mainstream media dishonesty can sink.
Over the weekend, the press and social media erupted with claims that a group of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky had harassed an elderly Native American veteran.
The original video showed the man, “indigenous peoples” activist Nathan Phillips, beating a drum and singing while students in Trump’s iconic red “Make America Great Again” hats laughed and hollered around him, with one student in particular grinning inches from the man’s face. But additional video and firsthand accounts soon revealed Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Nick Sandmann’s face, and other adults who accompanied Phillips shouted taunts like “white people, go back to Europe” at the kids.
Nevertheless, dozens of major media outlets ran with Phillips’ initial claims about the event, with Covington Catholic, the Diocese of Covington, and even March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and an editor of the conservative National Review joining them.
Many of the students’ defenders have called on the president to use his bully pulpit to speak out on the story, which Trump did last night by tweeting that the students “were treated unfairly with early judgments proving out to be false.” He followed up with a second tweet Tuesday morning.
Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
“Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be,” the president wrote. “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!”
Trump’s intervention follows that of Kentucky Republicans Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie, among others. While many pro-lifers are elated, a few such as National Review’s Dan McLaughlin said it was “bad” that more liberals weren’t conceding the facts, because “people are gonna hear Trump barge in” and “get the message that the only safe port in the storm is sticking with Trump.” Other conservatives have suggested that the president should follow up by inviting Sandmann and the other Covington marchers to the White House or the State of the Union address.
As the truth behind the story came out, many who initially attacked the students – contributing to a liberal fervor that has included death threats and attempts to publicize their identities – have since deleted their initial reactions. The March for Life withdrew its original statement, but instead of apologizing claimed “there is more to this story” and said they would “refrain from commenting further until the truth is understood.”
Nicholas Frankovich, the author of the since-deleted National Review piece that said the “evil” Covington students “Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross,” apologized for “overheated” rhetoric but not for misrepresenting the details of the original video. The Diocese of Covington and the high school have not yet apologized at all, with principal Robert Rowe confirming Monday evening that an investigation of the matter is still planned.