Trump called out for appearing to mock disability

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (AP Photo/Willis Glassgow)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump denied Thursday that he mocked a reporter with a disability in a South Carolina speech, despite appearing to imitate mannerisms of the “poor guy” and make fun of him.

A statement posted on his Twitter account said Trump doesn’t know the reporter personally or what he looks like and was only mocking his journalism. The New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, “should stop using his disability to grandstand,” the statement quoted Trump as saying.

Kovaleski has a congenital condition that affects joint movement. In a speech Tuesday in South Carolina, Trump said, “Poor guy, you oughta see this guy,” and gestured in a jerky fashion as if imitating Kovaleski’s movements.

Trump was challenging recollections by Kovaleski and many others about the 9/11 aftermath. Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were seen celebrating the attacks.

In 2001, Kovaleski, then with The Washington Post, and another Post journalist wrote a week after the 9/11 attacks about authorities in New Jersey detaining and questioning “a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks.” The story did not suggest “thousands” were celebrating, as Trump claimed, and a story then by The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, said the reports of such celebrations by Muslims proved unfounded.

Even so, Trump has pointed to the Post story as backing up his claim and took issue with Kovaleski’s recent statement that he did not remember anyone alleging that large numbers of Muslims were celebrating.

“Written by a nice reporter,” Trump said in the speech. “Now the poor guy, you oughta see this guy — uh, I don’t know what I said, uh, I don’t remember. He’s going like, I don’t remember.” His voice took a mocking tone, too.

The Times expressed outrage afterward that Trump would “ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.”

Jay Ruderman of the Ruderman Family Foundation in Boston said Thursday the Republican presidential contender should apologize to Kovaleski and the public.

Ruderman said Trump would benefit from a “series of sensitivity training sessions” and offered to provide them.

“It is unacceptable for a child to mock another child’s disability on the playground, never mind a presidential candidate mocking someone’s disability as part of a national political discourse,” he said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s