White House

REPORT: Trump to Meet with Covington High School Students

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 19, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

President Trump is expected to meet as soon as Wednesday with the Covington Catholic High School students who were involved in a viral confrontation near the Lincoln Memorial during Saturday’s March for Life, Fox News’s Laura Ingraham reported Tuesday.

The students were subjected to an outpouring of online harassment after a number of prominent media outlets, journalists, and celebrities accused them of bigotry based on an incomplete video of their confrontation with Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American man who baselessly claimed the students had surrounded and taunted him.

After a more complete video of the incident emerged, it became clear that despite his claims to the contrary, Phillips actually approached the students, and drummed loudly just inches from one of their faces. The students, some of whom made a tomahawk motion with their arms as Phillips drummed, were engaged in a school chant to drown out the racist and homophobic slurs shouted at them by a group of black nationalists standing nearby.

President Trump cited the controversy in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Phillips, who has repeatedly changed his account of the incident since more complete videos emerged, suggested the boys be expelled in a recent interview and declined an invitation to meet with them personally.

“He needs to put out a different statement,” Phillips told the Cincinatti Enquirer, referencing a statement released by the student he antagonized. “I’m disappointed with his statement. He didn’t accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don’t accept it.”

“At first I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded, some fired, for letting this happen. For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit that,” he added.

Asked about a Cincinnati restaurant owner’s offer to pay for his travel to “break bread” with the students, Phillips said “it’s not the right time.”

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