Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann has broken his silence.
He appeared on “The Today Show” on NBC on Wednesday and stood his ground again, NBC reported.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School junior whose face-off with a Native American elder on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial vent viral over the weekend, is defending his actions and insisting he showed no insolence during the confrontation.
“As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” the 16-year-old told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in his first television interview since the controversial standoff with activist Nathan Phillips.
Guthrie asked Sandmann whether he felt he owed anyone an apology or has assumed fault for the clash.
“My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him,” he said. “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.”
The encounter occurred Saturday during Sandmann’s trip with his Kentucky classmates to the nation’s capital for the March For Life anti-abortion rally. Numerous cameras recorded the confrontation with Phillips, who was returning from a separate march, and the moment quickly spread on Twitter.
But the scene took place right after the students ran into five members of the Hebrew Israelites, a radical movement that is “growing more militant,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Hebrew Israelites began taunting 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,” Sandmann said. “I heard them call us incest kids, bigots, racists. They called us f*****s.”
The students outnumbered their aggressors but Sandmann said he “definitely felt threatened.”
“They were a group of adults and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next,” he said…
Sandmann was asked about the expression he wore on his face as he faced off against Phillips. Some have characterized the look as a smirk, but Sandmann describes it differently.
“I see it as a smile, saying that this is the best you’re going to get out of me. You won’t get any further reaction of aggression. And I’m willing to stand here as long as you want to hit this drum in my face,” he said.
Sandmann said it was unfair to have his character weighed up by one look.
“People have judged me based off one expression, which I wasn’t smirking, but people have assumed that’s what I have,” he said. “And they’ve gone from there to titling me and labeling me as a racist person, someone that’s disrespectful to adults, which they’ve had to assume so many things to get there without consulting anyone that can give them the opposite story.” …
“Our school was slandered by the African-Americans who had called us all sorts of things. And I think I was perfectly fine with standing there and not letting the hate that was directed at us continue.”