CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon made their case that the onus for the viral confrontation between the Covington Catholic high school students and Native American elder Nathan Phillips was completely on the students.
During his “closing argument” segment, Cuomo accused the group of teenagers of being “unduly provocative” and questioned the whereabouts of the chaperones and why they were wearing MAGA hats. He then singled out Nick Sandmann, who he said made a choice to get into a “standoff” with Phillips.
“That was not a good choice. Was it legal? Sure. That’s not my test and it shouldn’t be the test. Here’s mine: if that were my son, who happens to go to a great Catholic school, would I like what he did? If I were there, would I have allowed the kids to be in that situation? No and no. There was a disrespect at play that doesn’t work for me in these circumstances,” Cuomo said, before clarifying that he doesn’t “blame” the students.
Cuomo then slammed President Trump, who tweeted that the Covington Catholic students could “bring people together” in the aftermath of the controversy.
“Isn’t that your job, not the teenager?” Cuomo scorned the president. “Weren’t they out of their depth? Aren’t they supposed to be protected from this? Aren’t you the one who’s supposed to find a way to bring us together instead of exploiting every opportunity you find to divide, railing on the media and the left, propping up the kids as victims? You neglect that they were mainly victims of their own choices and actions. Shouldn’t we discuss that? I wonder if the hats had anything to do with your muted response.”
The CNN anchor expressed disapproval to those who “consented” to the hats and that there were “issues of behavior” for the parents and the school.
Lemon then joined in, telling his colleague that his notes were “similar” to Cuomo’s remarks. While admitting that the media wasn’t “off the hook” for jumping to conclusions and condemned the Black Israelites, he criticized the Covington students for wearing the MAGA hats.
“The MAGA hat carries a certain connotation that provokes a conditioned reaction from many people, especially from marginalized people… Their chaperones should be keenly aware of that. Those kids should know that. And let’s say that the kids didn’t because they are kids, their chaperones should be responsible enough to educate them,” Lemon told Cuomo. “Here’s the important part for me; when I got home and my parents saw a photo of me staring down an elderly veteran, especially a member of one of the most marginalized group in our country, Native Americans, bit any grown up of any ethnicity, I would have had hell to pay. They wouldn’t be saying, ‘Oh my gosh,’ they would have told me and sat me down, ‘Boy, you get your narrow ass out of the way of that old man and show some respect. And don’t be embarrassing me or yourself in public and walk away.’”
“The parents, the president, the conservative media should think less about their 15 minutes in trying to capitalize on this and they should take Nathan Phillips, the tribal elder, up on his offer to build a bridge instead of building a wall and instead of trying to further separate us if they think that these kids were unduly criticized in some way,” Lemon continued.
Cuomo swiped the March For Life, which he dismissed as group whose stance is “if you’re in favor for a woman’s right to choose and reproductive rights, that somehow means you’re ‘pro-death’” and forgave the media’s misreporting of the event because “you can correct it” and the scrutiny “has been balanced.”
Neither Cuomo nor Lemon acknowledged the various falsehoods and inconsistent claims made by Nathan Phillips, who accused the Covington students of “looking for trouble” and not the Black Israelites who initiated the conflict.