CNN Commentator Angela Rye Compares MAGA Hat to KKK Hood: I'm 'So Triggered' by the 'Hatred' It Represents

January 22, 2019

CNN commentator Angela Rye said she was "triggered" by "Make America Great Again" hats during a Tuesday night appearance on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time."

Rye's comment came during a discussion about Nick Sandmann and the Covington Catholic high school students who were involved in an incident with a Native American activist Nathan Phillips that went viral on Saturday. While wearing a MAGA hat, Sandmann stood still as Phillips played a drum in his face, and Rye told anchor Chris Cuomo that she could not get over the symbolism of the student's hat.

"Forget Donald Trump for a moment, and just think about that symbol of that red hat," she said. "When I see the Make America Great Again hat now, Chris, I am triggered. I'm so triggered."

Rye went on to tell fellow CNN contributor Andre Bauer that his support for Trump puts a strain on their friendship, since she sees red hats as equivalent to the hoods of the Ku Klux Klan.

"I don't agree with you on this last point, but this Make America Great Again hat is just as maddening and frustrating and triggering for me to look at as a KKK hood," she said. "That is the type of hatred that his 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."

Sandmann came under fire as an edited video showed him apparently smirking at Phillips while wearing the MAGA hat. A longer video revealed a more complex situation, where Phillips approached Sandmann after a group of Black Hebrew Israelites antagonized both the Covington students and the Native Americans.

Sandmann has denied that he meant anything offensive by his pose.

"I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. 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," Sandmann said in a statement.

Rye said it's hard to believe Trump is offended by falsehoods about his supporters.

"I wish that for one moment we could talk about what we see," Rye said. "People are talking about what's happening right now, as a result of what happened in this particular incident, is our varying perspectives, and I think that's such a powerful point."