Trump: Kentucky students ‘have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be’

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE in an early morning tweet on Tuesday said the high school students involved in an encounter with a Native American man that went viral “have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”

“Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be,” Trump tweeted.

“They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good — maybe even to bring people together,” he added.

“It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!”

Late Monday, Trump accused the media of smearing the students.

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"Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false — smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback!" Trump tweeted, before adding a quote tied to Fox News host Tucker Carlson's show.

Video clips initially passed around social media over the weekend appeared to show the students from a Catholic high school in Covington, Ky., harassing and taunting the man, Nathan Phillips, a U.S. veteran, at the Indigenous People's March in Washington, D.C.

The most widely shared video featured a student, Nick Sandmann, with an expression many described as smirking as Phillips played his drum and sang directly in front of him.

Sandmann and several other students were wearing “Make America Great Again” apparel during the encounter.

Additional footage and reports emerging later, however, appeared to show that Phillips approached Sandmann after other protesters started hassling the students.

Sandmann said in a statement Sunday that initial reports about the confrontation were based on "misinformation" and "outright lies."

--This report was updated at 3:05 p.m.