Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann speaks during RNC

Nick Sandmann, an 18-year-old graduate of Covington Catholic High School and focus of an infamous viral video from January 2019, spoke on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

Video Transcript

- It began as a class trip to join thousands for the annual March for Life. These Catholic young men traveled from Kentucky to stand up for what they believed in. But what happened was something very different.

- Crackers with a Make America Great hat on. You little dirty [BLEEP] crackers, your day coming, young Klansmen. Look at her Make America Great Again hat.

- Social media, the news, and even celebrities launched a campaign of persecution that was completely false against a boy in a Make America Great Again hat.

DON LEMON: The MAGA hat carries a certain connotation that provokes a conditioned reaction.

BILL MAHER: I blame that [BLEEP] kid. What a little crap.

TREVOR NOAH: Everyone that sees that smug look wants to punch that kid.

- Nicholas Sandmann received death threats, and his school was forced to close. Tonight, Nicholas tells his story.

NICK SANDMANN: Good evening, everyone. My name is Nick Sandmann, and I'm the teenager who is defamed by the media after an encounter with a group of protesters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last year. Before I begin, I'd like to thank President Trump for the opportunity to share some of my story and why it matters so much to this November's election.

In 2019, I attended the March for Life in Washington, DC, where I demonstrated in defense of the unborn. Later that day, I bought a Make America Great Again hat because our President, Donald Trump, has distinguished himself as one of the most pro-life presidents in the history of our country, and I wanted to express my support for him, too. Looking back now, how could I possibly imagine that the simple act of putting on that red hat would unleash hate from the left and make myself the target of network and cable news networks nationwide?

Being from Kentucky, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, my classmates and I visited the Lincoln Memorial. I found myself face to face with Nathan Phillips and other professional protesters, looking to turn me into the latest poster child showing why Trump is bad. While the media portrayed me as an aggressor with a relentless smirk on my face, in reality, the video confirms I was standing with my hands behind my back and an awkward smile on my face that hid two thoughts. One, don't do anything that might further agitate the man banging a drum in my face. And two, I was trying to follow a family friend's advice-- never to do anything to embarrass your family, your school, or your community.

Before I knew what was happening, it was over. One of Mr. Phillips' fellow agitators yelled out, we got him. It's all right here on video, and we won, grandpa. What I thought was a strange encounter quickly developed into a major news story, complete with video footage.

My life changed forever in that one moment. The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode. They did so without researching the full video of the incident, without ever investigating Mr. Phillips' motives, or without ever asking me for my side of the story.