CNN anchor Chris Cuomo claimed on Tuesday night that the MAGA hat-wearing teenagers from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who become embroiled in controversy stemming from a viral video of an incident in D.C. were “mainly victims of their own choices and actions.”
The viral video showed Native-American activist Nathan Phillips’ interaction with the teens from Kentucky — specifically, Nick Sandmann (shown above left) — near the Lincoln Memorial after the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
Social media users initially targeted Sandmann and other MAGA hat-wearing students and accused them of racism, thinking they had surrounded Phillips on purpose to mock him.
But far more complete videos showed otherwise. Instead, it was Phillips, 64, who approached the teenagers; they had been standing there waiting for the buses that would take them back home. Phillips moved toward them while beating a drum and chanting; they did not move from their original positions.
Although many people retracted or clarified their original comments about the controversy, the damage was done. As a result of messages spread by many in the mainstream media and others, the Covington teens have received death threats and torrents of verbal abuse on social media.
Cuomo (above right) admitted he hadn’t “seen any credible evidence that the kid involved did or said anything extreme to the man playing the drum.” But he demanded, “Where were the chaperones? Why did a school event involve MAGA hats?”
Mainstream media members and liberals apparently never felt the need to complain about or rebuke supporters of former President Barack Obama’s for sporting pro-Obama hats at non-campaign events in the past.
The CNN anchor also defended Phillips, saying the Native-American elder “apparently wanted to diffuse the tension and he walked up to do exactly that,” even though Phillips was the one who approached the teens and then stood directly in front of them.
“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,” Cuomo said.
Although the anchor said he doesn’t “blame the kids” themselves and criticized the social media firestorm, he appeared to blame President Donald Trump, too, for the controversy.
“Aren’t you the one who is 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 the kids as victims?” Cuomo asked. “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,” Cuomo added. “And you what we could use? A leader in that regard. That’s what a president is supposed to be. And if he doesn’t want to fill that job, who is going to step up? Who is going to step up and take occasions to make us better because this is not sustainable for the country.”
As Cuomo handed over the airtime to CNN host Don Lemon, the two continued to discuss the Covington controversy and the significance of the MAGA hats.
“OK. The MAGA hat, the MAGA hat carries a certain connotation that provokes a conditioned reaction from many people. Especially from marginalized people,” Lemon said. “The kids have a right to wear the MAGA hat. Sure. Everyone has a right to. But you also have … a responsibility as an American to be aware. When you wear it, own it.”
Check out more in the video below: