TPM Livewire

Trump Denies Mocking 'Grandstanding' NYT Reporter's Disability

Vupecizuvyqhsulhyluj
AP Photo / John Raoux

During a campaign rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina earlier this week Trump tried to defend his story about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey applauding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which has no basis in fact. In the attempt, Trump read a passage from reporter Serge Kovaleski's 2001 Washington Post story that noted police questioned a few individuals who were allegedly celebrating the attacks. Kovaleski told CNN this week that he did "not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating," however.

Trump, in what appeared to be a very direct mockery of the reporter, flapped his arms in the air widely and said "Now, the poor guy. You've got to see this guy," according to the Post.

Kovaleski, who now works at the New York Times, has arthrogryposis, a condition that reduces his arm's range of motion. He told the Post that it "didn't in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record."

But Trump said he wasn't disparaging Kovaleski at all and didn't even remember the reporter, who wrote a lot about Trump when he worked for the New York Daily News from 1987-1993, according to the Post.

"Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did," Trump said in a statement, as quoted by the newspaper. "He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes."