"TODAY" anchor Savannah Guthrie granted a sit down interview with Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann on Wednesday, to the chagrin of those who already made up their mind that he was the aggressor in that confrontation with Native American veteran Nathan Phillips outside the Lincoln memorial last weekend. Sandmann was initially condemned for "smirking" at Phillips and harassing him along with his high school classmates, but new video footage revealed that perhaps Phillips was the one in the wrong, because he and his fellow veterans approached the boys first.
Sandmann told Guthrie he had "every right" to stand where he was, but in hindsight he wished he and his peers would have walked to another spot.
On Thursday, NBC gave Native American veteran Nathan Phillips to respond. He said he "forgives" Sandmann for the standoff, but that he is not impressed by the young man's "PR" response to the incident.
“Coached and written up for him," Phillips said of Sandmann's public statements. "Insincerity. Lack of responsibility. Those are the words I came up with, but then I went to go pray about it,” Phillips said Thursday on TODAY. “And then I woke up, and I woke up with this forgiving heart. So I forgive him.”
“What it says is, he has a PR firm," Phillips added. "So those aren’t even his words if he has a PR firm."
About the incident itself, Phillips insists he was trying to walk away from the situation, but was "blocked" by Sandmann and his classmates.
Guthrie asked Phillips about the controversy over his military service. While some reports suggested he served in Vietnam, Phillips insisted he never said that.
"What I've always said is I've never stepped foot in south Vietnam. I don’t know how much clearer can that be.”