by Bill Miller
MANHATTAN — Nick Sandmann, a Catholic high school teenager from Kentucky, returned to the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday to decry media reports of his encounter at the same spot last year with a drum-playing demonstrator for Native American rights.
Sandmann’s comments were made in a pre-recorded message played at the Republican National Convention.
Sandmann told the RNC audience that the “full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode” against him without knowing all the facts.
Sandmann on Tuesday said he believes news outlets were driven by “anti-Christian, anti-conservative, anti-Donald Trump” bias while reporting about him. “But I would not be canceled,” said Sandmann, as he donned his MAGA cap. “I fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me and I won a personal victory.”
The Kentucky teenager made national headlines when video footage of his face-to-face moments with demonstrator Nathan Phillips showed him smiling at Phillips, a Native American elder, which some commentators described as mocking and racist.
In January 2019, Sandmann came to Washington, D.C. to attend the March for Life. During the incident on the steps of the memorial, Sandmann and some of his Covington Catholic High School classmates wore red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats.
The teenager and Phillips said later in separate interviews that they were trying to defuse tensions at the memorial. Sandmann said he smiled to show he was not being aggressive or confrontational. Video footage that came out after the initial reports confirmed Sandmann’s version of the incident.
He sued CNN and the Washington Post, claiming the news outlets were biased and their reporting fueled a campaign of harassment against him. Both cases were later settled for undisclosed amounts.