Nicholas Sandmann, teen from video of 2019 Washington protest, addresses Republican convention

ByWill Weissert AP logo
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Nicholas Sandmann speaks at 2020 RNC
Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann speaks at the 2020 Republican National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

WASHINGTON -- A Kentucky teenager known for video of his interaction with a Native American man during dueling demonstrations at the Lincoln Memorial says the country must unite around a president "who calls the media out."

Nicholas Sandmann assailed the media on Tuesday during the second night of the Republican National Convention, and contended that no one has been a victim of unfair media coverage more than President Donald Trump.

Sandmann asserted that the simple act of wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap made him the target of network and cable news networks.

Sandmann was among the students from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, participating in an anti-abortion march in Washington in January 2019. Footage of his interaction with Nathan Phillips, who was participating in a separate demonstration supporting Native American rights, spread widely online.

Both Sandmann and Phillips later said they were trying to defuse tensions among three separate groups participating in both demonstrations. Video of the encounter showed Sandmann and Phillips standing very close to each other, with Sandmann staring, and at times smiling, at Phillips as Phillips sang and played a drum.

VIDEOS: Sen. Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr. speak on night 1 on the 2020 RNC

Speakers from night 1 of the 2020 Republican National Convention: VIDEOS (1 of 16)

Sandmann later settled lawsuits against CNN and other media outlets. He was featured along with first lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the convention focuses on many hot-button issues, including abortion and Middle East policy, and portrays Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as too extreme to win November's election.

"We need to keep talking about Joe Biden's radical policies," Trump reelection campaign manager Bill Stepien said during an online interview with Politico on Tuesday. "The more we talk about the Democrat policies being pushed by Joe Biden and the radical fringe of his party, the better we are. The more our standing improves in this race."

But the appearance of Sandmann and guests like Mark and Patricia McCloskey - the white couple facing felony charges for waving guns during a recent Black Lives Matter protest in St. Louis - also counter the everyday Americans who spoke via the internet during last week's Democratic National Convention.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a white St. Louis couple criminally charged for waving guns during a Black Lives Matter protest outside their home, made their case in their opening night speech of the Republican National Convention.

Those praising Biden included New York security guard Jacquelyn Brittany, whose interaction with the former vice president in an elevator went viral, and Kristin Urquiza, whose Trump-supporting father died of coronavirus. Brayden Harrington, 13, talked about working to overcome his stutter with support from Biden, who had a severe stutter himself as a child.