NBC “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie received criticism from both sides of the aisle following her Wednesday interview with Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student at the center of a tense confrontation with a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial.
People on the left slammed Guthrie and “TODAY” for giving Sandmann air time, while right-wing conservatives took the morning news host to task over her question asking if the teen felt he was at fault in the incident.
The interview followed a media firestorm over video of Sandmann and indigenous activist Nathan Phillips‘ intense showdown, which drew wide criticism across social media.
The drama unfolded as Sandmann and his classmates visited Washington, D.C. for the March for Life rally last weekend. Phillips, a Vietnam War veteran, was in town for the Indigenous Peoples March, which was being hosted the same day. According to AP, both Sandmann and Phillips claimed they were attempting to defuse rising tensions between three groups — the teens, the natives and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites.
However, viral video of Sandmann defiantly standing in Phillips’ face, even smirking at times, while the activist sang and banged a drum, gave those who watched it a totally different impression. In the video, several of the 16-year-old’s classmates are also seen laughing and mocking the elder with a “tomahawk chop” and other offensive gestures.
Conflicting counts of the incident quickly began to emerge, as several other witness videos suggested the initial clip was chopped, edited and shown out of context.
In the wake of it all, Sandmann said he’s been called “every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name.” The teen added that his parents have also been pegged with death threats since the video went viral.
NBC promoted Guthrie’s interview on its social media accounts Tuesday, which drew intense reactions from the left.
“Imagine if a black kid would have done something disrespectful to a white woman that went viral, I doubt they would be getting the Today Show love,” Robert Littal, creator of Black Sports Online, tweeted. “This is white supremacy and media working together.”
“What the actual hell is wrong with you? Why are you giving this bigoted child a platform, when what he *needs* is (minimum) to be grounded and taught compassion?” another user chimed in. “This is revolting.”
Bishop Talbert Swan asked Guthrie and NBC to please “send me the link to shows where you sat down with the parents of #LaquanMcDonald, #TamirRice, #TrayvonMartin, and a host of other innocent Black boys who were killed & had their reputations smeared by bigoted wypipo to justify their murders.”
“Do you think Pepe the Frog is available for Thursday’s show?” intelligence analyst Eric Garland added. “Can Dylann Roof do a segment from prison? Heart-to-heart with some Fentanyl traffickers?”
Conservative critics were equally upset, but for different reasons. For them, the issue came when Guthrie asked Sandmann if he saw his “own fault in any way” during the encounter with Phillips.
“Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology?” she asked, to which the responded, “As far as standing there, I had every right to do so.”
“I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips,” Sandmann added. Conservatives agreed.
“Why is the media STILL asking Nick Sandmann (MAGA smirk kid) to apologize? He did absolutely NOTHING wrong,” YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson opined.
“This is a despicable & leading question,” the Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson tweeted. “God Bless this kid for standing his ground against the SJW outrage mob that is the establishment media.”
Conservative TV host and noted conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec even accused Guthrie of “putting words in [Sandmann’s] mouth.”
As reported by CBS News, Phillips said he’s open to traveling as a “delegate representing the international coalition behind the Indigenous Peoples March to Covington Catholic High School in Northern Kentucky and have a dialog about cultural appropriation, racism, and the importance of listening to and respecting diverse cultures.”
During his interview with Guthrie, Sandman said he’d also be willing to meet with Phillips.
Watch more in the clip below.