After days of being a national news story, Nick Sandmann now wishes he and his fellow Covington Catholic High School students had just walked away from Native American activists at the Lincoln Memorial. In an excerpt from a Today show interview airing Wednesday, the student, seen in a viral video standing smiling in front of protester Nathan Phillips, says the confrontation was not his fault, NBC reports. "As far as standing there, I had every right to do so,” he says. "My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him," the Kentucky student says. "I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could've walked away and avoided the whole thing."
Nick and many of his classmates, who were in Washington, DC, for an anti-abortion rally, were wearing Make America Great Again hats. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that President Trump had reached out to the students, because Trump understands very well what it is like when somebody "attacks you for something you may or may not have done." She said Trump might invite the students to the White House after the government shutdown is over, the AP reports. The boys' school, meanwhile, was closed Tuesday. The Diocese of Covington says it was closed on advice from police. The diocese says an independent, third-party investigation of the Lincoln Memorial incident will begin this week. (Twitter has suspended an account that fueled the controversy.)