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MAGA kid Nick Sandmann’s redemption tour has begun.
On Wednesday, Sandmann appeared on The Today Show, in his first television interview since the contentious standoff with activist Nathan Phillips in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18. During the interview, Sandmann defended his actions, insisting he showed no disrespect to Phillips.
“As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” Sandmann said. “My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him. 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 incident between Phillips and Sandmann occurred on Friday during the Kentucky teen’s school trip to D.C. for the March for Life anti-abortion rally. The confrontation subsequently went viral on Saturday.
However, on Sunday, new footage surfaced where it appears as though another group of protestors, the Black Hebrew Israelites, were insulting the students prior to Phillips' arrival, calling them “future school shooters,” among other things.
Still, Sandmann contended that his classmates from Covington Catholic High School weren’t using insults or racial slurs as retaliation. “We're a Catholic school and it's not tolerated. They don't tolerate racism, and none of my classmates are racist people.”
Sandmann insisted he didn’t know what to do at the moment. “Well, now, I wish I would’ve walked away. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to Mr. Phillips and walk away if he was trying to talk to me,” Sandmann told Today. “I was surrounded by a lot of people I didn't know that had their phones out, had cameras, and I didn't want to bump into anyone or seem like I was trying to do something.”
However, many point to Sandmann’s facial expression during the incident, which they characterize as a smirk. “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.”
“I have the utmost respect for Mr. Phillips as another person that freely used his First Amendment right. And I want to thank him for his military service as well. And I'd certainly like to speak with him.”
But it looks like other students from Covington showed their true colors. On Wednesday, two students appeared on the Fox News show Fox & Friends protect their school’s reputation and answer why, in the past, some students wore blackface during a basketball game against a team that had black players.
“I’d just explain it as showing our school spirit,” student Sam Schroder replied. “We had many themes, like nerd, business, white-out, blue-out, black-out, as you’ve seen in the video.”
Schroeder conceded that after a video of students in the makeup became public, students banned from wearing blackface. “But I know the kids meant nothing by it,” he maintained. “It’s just showing school spirit.”