Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) on Sunday claimed that the media misrepresented the viral incident involving students from Covington Catholic High School, which is located in his district.
Massie's comments come after many on social media passed around a video of Covington Catholic students apparently having a confrontation with a Native American protester.
One of the students, a young boy wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, in the video stands in front of a Native American man, who is drumming.
"I was uncomfortable when I saw the video & description that first went viral, so I understand the initial reactions to the CovCath video," Massie tweeted. "I chose to wait for more facts before responding because the narrative did not match what I know to be the character of these students."
"I’ve now watched over an hour of other videos from 4 different cameras of the incident in front of the Lincoln Memorial," Massie wrote. "I urge everyone to watch the other videos before passing judgement. Would you have remained that composed at that age under those circumstances?"
Reason, a libertarian magazine, in an article on Sunday reported that full-length footage of the event shows the group of students was being yelled at by several African-American protesters before the Native American man stepped in. The footage shows that it was unclear whether the protester, who has been identified as Omaha elder Nathan Phillips, was intervening on behalf of either group.
According to Reason, the group of students did not respond as the four African-American protesters called them homophobic slurs and commented on the fact that they are white.
"In the face of racist and homosexual slurs, the young boys refused to reciprocate or disrespect anyone," Massie wrote. "Even when taunted by homophobic bigots, which was obviously bewildering to them, they insulted no one."
"In the context of everything that was going on (which the media hasn’t shown) the parents and mentors of these boys should be proud, not ashamed, of their kids’ behavior," Massie concluded. "It is my honor to represent them."
(5/5) In the context of everything that was going on (which the media hasn’t shown) the parents and mentors of these boys should be proud, not ashamed, of their kids’ behavior. It is my honor to represent them.— Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieEighth House GOP lawmaker issued 0 fine for not wearing mask on House floor Reps. Greene, Roy fined for not wearing masks on House floor Sixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine MORE (@RepThomasMassie) January 20, 2019
The Covington Catholic high school student who was featured in the video, who has identified himself as Nick Sandmann, in a statement on Sunday wrote that reports about the incident have been filled with "misinformation" and "outright lies."
Though some reports have claimed that the students were cheering "build the wall" at Phillips and the other Native American protesters, Sandmann said he did not hear comments like that.
Philips gave a contradictory account to The Washington Post, saying "that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse."
"It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’ ” Phillips told The Washington Post. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”