Video posted after Friday’s “March for Life” gathering of anti-abortion activists in Washington showed dozens of students dressed in “Make America Great Again” apparel mocking a Native American military veteran.
The images, which went viral, showed the youths mocking and tormenting Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam War veteran who was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March, a separate event that was held coincidentally near the March for Life on Friday.
Phillips became emotional describing how students chanted “build that wall” at him in a video shared on Twitter.
— Quang D. Tran, S.J. (@LeMeTellUSumtin) January 19, 2019
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the logo of a private Catholic high school in Kentucky is visible on several of the students in the video.
A spokesperson for Covington Catholic High school said in a statement to the Enquirer that “we are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it.”
The March for Life — an annual gathering of anti-abortion advocates and students, this year featured a speech by Vice President Mike Pence, a recorded address by President Donald Trump.
Although the Covington school’s social media accounts have been set to private, its website includes permission forms for students to “participate in the March For Life 2019 event in Washington, D.C.”
Hate crimes have risen in each of the three years for which federal data is available since Trump declared his candidacy. Impacted communities say the president’s rhetoric and policies have emboldened racists across the country.
The Washington Post’s Radley Balko pointed out the “Trump-era phenomenon” displayed in the videos.
That video features another Trump-era phenomenon that we just seem take for granted, now: When bigots want to harass maringalized people, they can simply chant one of the president’s slogans. Or don his hat. Or yell out his name. And everyone knows what it means.
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) January 19, 2019