In a discussion on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" Tuesday about the controversy surrounding Covington Catholic high schoolers' encounter with a Native American protester, CNN commentator Angela Rye said that she simply couldn't get over high school junior Nick Sandmann wearing a MAGA hat because it's "as maddening and frustrating and triggering for me to look at as a KKK hood."
After left-wing host Chris Cuomo suggested President Trump was being disingenuous in his outrage over the media's libelous reporting on the incident, Rye agreed with Cuomo, but then transitioned to her larger point: The "standoff" between the Catholic high schoolers and activist Nathan Phillips was effectively a Rorschach test of people's ideological perspectives.
"I wish that for one moment we can talk about what we see. People are talking about what is happening right now as a result of this particular incident is our varying perspectives, and I think that's such a powerful point," she said.
"Forget Donald Trump for a moment, and just think about that symbol of that red hat," said Rye, in a moment highlighted by The Washington Free Beacon. "When I see the 'Make America Great Again' hat now, Chris, I am triggered. I'm so triggered."
Rye then turned to fellow commentator Andre Bauer, who often defends the president, and said, "Andre, I think in a lot of ways our friendship has been compromised by the fact that you continue to support this man." She followed that up by giving him credit for sometimes calling out Trump, but making sure to say that she disagrees with him on this issue.
Red hats, she emphasized, were now as much a symbol of hate as the notorious white hoods of the Ku Klux Klan. "This Make America Great Again hat is just as maddening and frustrating and triggering for me to look at as a KKK hood," Rye said. "That is the type of hatred that [Trump's] policies represent. And until we can have common ground and understanding about that, that it's that triggering, we're going to continue to have problems."
Early reports on the viral video of Sandmann and his fellow high schoolers falsely claimed that they provoked the encounter with Phillips and hurled racist insults at minority activists. Video evidence has since shown that the boys were in fact the targets of racist and homophobic slurs from the radical group Black Hebrew Israelites, designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. After being called "f*ggots" and "crackers" and being told to "go back to Europe," the boys began singing and cheering to drown out the hateful rhetoric coming from the extremist group.
Phillips then injected himself into the situation, the "face-off" featured in the initial viral video. The activist later portrayed the boys to media outlets as the aggressors, describing them as "beasts" ready to pounce on their "prey," and a "mob" poised to "lynch" minorities, when video evidence shows that the worst thing some of the teens did was a tomahawk chop and joining his chants in a way that might be interpreted as mildly mocking.
"Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology? Do you see your own fault in any way?" Guthrie suggestively asked Sandmann in the interview.
"As far as standing there, I had every right to do so," the boy replied. "My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips — I respect him, I’d like to talk to him. In hindsight, I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing, but I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there."