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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# staying classy
Trump says he didn't mock disabled reporter and 'doesn't even know what he looks like'
“He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”

GOP 2016 Trump AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNER Donald Trump has denied even knowing a disabled New York Times reporter whose jerking arm movements he seemed to make fun of in a campaign speech.

The latest furore surrounding Trump – who often vents about political correctness — raises new questions about what critics say appears to be his inclination to mock people’s physical traits, and make up stories to serve his purposes.

The real-estate tycoon, who earlier this week invited scrutiny after saying that Arab Americans had celebrated the 9/11 terror strikes, courted fresh controversy in a speech in South Carolina in which he defended his claims.

Video shows him appearing to question the credentials of Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from congenital arthrogryposis, which interferes with movement of the limbs.

CNN / YouTube

But Trump (69) who during campaigning for the White House has made no secret of his disdain for the US media, denied poking fun at Kovaleski’s condition and demanded an apology from the “failing” New York Times.

“Serge 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 strongly worded statement, while also hitting out at the newspaper in a series of tweets.

He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.

“His recent statement, to me, seemed like (again without knowing what he looks like) he was grovelling and searching for a way out from what he wrote many years before.”

I merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago. If Mr Kovaleski is handicapped, I would not know because I do not know what he looks like.

“I have tremendous respect for people who are physically challenged and have spent tens of millions of dollars throughout buildings all over the world on making them handicapped accessible and ADA (Americans Disability Act) compliant.”

On stage on Tuesday, Trump had lambasted Kovaleski for his recollection of an article he wrote days after the September 11 attacks.

“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’” Trump told the crowd, jerking his arms in front of his body and making a strange face, apparently imitating the reporter.

The Washington Post, where Kovaleski used to work, cited the reporter as saying that he was sure Trump did know him and of his condition, adding:

The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record.

- © AFP 2015

Read: ‘Outrageous’ Donald Trump mocks disabled journalist >

‘It happened, I saw it on television’: Trump claims thousands cheered 9/11 from New Jersey>

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