Bill Maher blasts Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann over ‘smirk heard ‘round the world’

January 26, 2019

Bill Maher on Friday bashed the Catholic high school student at the center of a contentious confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial last week involving a group of teenage boys and a Native American activist.

“I don’t blame the kid, the smirk-face kid. I blame lead poisoning and bad parenting. And, oh yeah, I blame that [expletive] kid. What a little [expletive],” he said during his weekly HBO program, “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Nick Sandmann, a student of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, was cast into the spotlight earlier in the week as a result of his recent encounter with Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder and military veteran.

Video footage of the incident showed the 17-year-old high school junior seemingly staring down Mr. Phillips, 64, as the activist banged a drum near the Lincoln Memorial last Friday afternoon. Clips of the incident quickly went viral, igniting a firestorm of criticism that culminated in Mr. Maher referring to the student’s expression Friday evening as “the smirk heard ’round the world.”

Subsequent video footage showed an earlier portion of the confrontation with Mr. Phillips approaching Nick Sandmann and his classmates, beating his drum and chanting, leading numerous pundits to take to Twitter to apologize for rashly condemning the Covington students, having not seen the fuller context of the incident.

“This smirking kid says he was just trying to defuse the situation. Really? Next time you get into a fight with your wife or your husband or your boyfriend or your girlfriend, try that. Try getting two inches from their face with a [expletive]-eating grin. . . and see if it defuses the situation,” Mr. Maher said Friday.

Responding to similar criticism earlier in the week, President Trump defended the students and said they had been “treated unfairly” and “smeared” by the media.

“I was not intentionally making faces at the protester,” the student said in a statement issued this week. “I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation.”

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