Nathan Phillips Lies So Much That Even the Washington Post Can't Defend Him

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One of the adulthood lessons I learned from my old man was honesty. Even when it cuts against you. Tell the truth, he said, because if you don’t it takes a sh**load of work to keep up with your lies.

Nathan Phillips, American Indian tribal elder, former USMC refrigerator repairman, soon to be Crest toothpaste celebrity spokesperson, should have had the benefit of my old man’s counsel.

Phillips, as you know, became a national anti-Trump cause célèbre when he waded into a group of kids from a Catholic high school in Kentucky waiting on a bus to pick them up and got in the face of one kid and proceeded to beat his tom-tom and chant. I say this was anti-Trump because many of the kids were wearing MAGA hats and this obviously drove the outrage on the left and the NeverTrump right. Regardless, Phillips proved to be a very unreliable narrator of events as pointed out by Washington Post columnist Meghan McArdle (you owe it to yourself to read this whole thread).

As she says, if we give this self-promoting provocateur the benefit of a doubt, his memory of events is shifting as he gets more information. This is not an unusual behavior. It is actually how memory works.

What McArdle ignores in the equation is another marker of Phillips’s veracity. And that is the tortured history of his military service. As I pointed out a couple of days ago, Phillips plays a very cagey game. He says he was in the USMC from 1972 until 1976. The last USMC units left Vietnam in 1971. He seems to use words which, if you listen, never say he was in Vietnam but lead the listener to believe he was.

For instance:

He described in interviews getting spit on and called a baby killer by a “hippie girl” and told the Detroit Free Press on Saturday that “I’m a Marine Corps veteran, and I know what that mob mentality can be like.”

A lot of people called this out as a claim of Vietnam service. Guys, I was in freakin Army ROTC during the “Vietnam Era” and we had to wear uniforms all day each Thursday. I can tell you that what Phillips described happened in a lot of places besides airports and happened to a lot of people who never set foot in Vietnam. I and all of my classmates chose to drop at least one course during our time in ROTC because the professor called us out for something to do with Vietnam and military service.

“I have a relative here who said he’d lead the way and scout ahead for us,” Phillips said in the article, which describes a protest at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. “You know, I’m from Vietnam times. I’m what they call a recon ranger. That was my role. So I thank you for taking that point position for me.”

Here, again, he gave the impression of Vietnam service with his “point man” reference. But, again, it is nebulous. If you are in an infantry unit, each squad tends to have a designated point man. Some guys are just good at.

As Jen van Laar posted, this began to unravel when retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley revealed Phillips’s DD-214, that is, his actual discharge. It turned out that he was a refrigerator mechanic in the Marine Corps Reserve, the closest he got to Vietnam was El Toro, CA. He had several periods of bad time accredited to him for being AWOL. He was discharged, after four years, as a private. This latter fact is a rather singular accomplishment as it is nearly impossible to pull off without a lot of hard work.

Then this surfaced.

In this video, Phillips clearly says he is a Vietnam vet and claims his DD-214 shows he served overseas. It doesn’t. It shows that he served two active duty periods, May 20-November 3, 1972. Then he was released from active duty into, presumably, the Individual Ready Reserve because his DD-214 doesn’t reflect any Reserve annual training periods. He was called to active duty again from August 12, 1974 through May 5, 1976.

You can see from his record he didn’t receive any of the basic ribbons associated with serving in Vietnam. For instance, anyone serving in Vietnam or in support of US operations in Vietnam is entitled to wear the Vietnam campaign ribbon. He would also have had the Vietnam Service Ribbon and he should have been awarded the National Defense Service Medal. The fact that he doesn’t have it indicates that his command took positive action based on his basic training performance to ensure he didn’t receive it.


Taken together, this all shows that Phillips is just a self-aggrandizing liar. His military service, as told by him, is a lie. His accounts of the incident with the high school kids is a lie.

The stench about him is such that even his boosters at the Washington Post are walking away from him. This is how they covered the revelations at first:

Now from the same reporter:

As I said yesterday, if you think this is overkill you are wrong. When these tired old lefty activists, particularly those who claim some historical victim status, are publicly shamed, they, like cancer, go into remission and then reappear more virulent than ever. It is impossible to pile on them enough to actually guarantee that they will be discredited forever. Hopefully, Phillips has crossed the bridge into non-person status by burning the Washington Post and every other major liberal outlet in the nation. But you can never know when they will need a “tribal elder” for comment and someone will call Phillips.

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