Defending the indefensible is a thankless and often fruitless task, especially where the court of public opinion is concerned.
The court of public opinion exploded on social media when a group of students from the Kentucky Covington Catholic High School mocked Native American Nathan Phillips who was drumming, surrounding him and blocking his path while shouting “Build the Wall.”
But is this actually what happened?
The short clip shown above, being spread around social media with the companion commentary seems to paint a pretty bad picture. So bad that the Kentucky Diocese has issued an apology.
But did the diocese really have a choice amidst the backlash, regardless of whether the account was true? The answer is no. Even if the claims were patently false, those claims are so widely believed that saying otherwise would be useless.
However, it appears to be the case that the narrative being spread around on social media may be largely incorrect.
As it turns out, the students did not approach and surround Phillips. They were approached by Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial while waiting for their bus following the March For Life event. At the time, the students, while rowdy, were singing their school spirit song.
While the caption of the tweet states they did nothing wrong, it’s also worth noting that they didn’t do much right either. Especially being rowdy and unruly on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
It’s also worth noting that Phillips was not surrounded, as it was his own party behind him.
The face of the deplorable MAGA kids is the smirking kid who stood in front of Phillips. Much of the outrage has been directed at him.
This kid, however, likely was the most innocent party present. Watch this video below carefully, as he is approached by Phillips. Watch it a few times if you need to.
Prior to being approached, it seems as if the smirking kid was actually rather enjoying the drumming of the approaching Phillips. It got awkward though when Phillips stopped in front of the kid and pounded his drum in the kid’s face. This is despite the fact that there was actually plenty of room on the kid’s left to continue up the stairs several more steps.
Putting this in context, especially given the kid’s previous expression of enjoyment, the “smirking” observed in the shortened clip signifies awkwardness. He didn’t know what to make of the situation. He also wasn’t blocking Phillips, as there was plenty of room on his left to go around. What you saw was a confused kid with an awkward smile when he didn’t know how to make sense of this approach. It was likely this kid who was intimidated, rather than doing the intimidating.
Sure, some other kids chanted Ah Ah Ah and Hey Hey Hey along with the drum, which certainly could be considered insensitive. This is actually the worst behavior we see from them. Yet, the most hated kid, did absolutely none of that. He’s guilty of being awkardly confused while wearing a MAGA hat.
Also, despite it being repeated over and over again that these kids shouted “Build The Wall,” there is actually no evidence of this. This is not present in any of the videos available, including the below 9 minute video. Rather, you can hear one of the members of the Native American party telling the high school students to go back to Europe.
At about 8:10 in, you hear one of the Catholic students asking where the buses are, following an African American group preaching homophobia at 7:00.
But, never let a tragedy go to waste, I suppose.