Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teen at the center of Friday’s highly publicized stand-off with Native American activist Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C., believes his actions were “not disrespectful.”
Footage of the Covington Catholic High School student ― and his peers ― went viral following the incident, showing the group surrounding Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as he performed an American Indian Movement song.
Sandmann, who is seen in the video smiling just inches away from the Native American elder’s face, told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie he “had every right” to stand before Phillips.
“My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him, I would like to talk to him,” he said. “In hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing.”
Sandmann’s sit-down interview comes after an earlier statement was released on his behalf by a public relations firm in which he claimed to have been singled out by Phillips.
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