Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is accused of sinking to a new low and falling out of line following his remarks at a South Carolina rally last week about the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.
During the rally, Trump allegedly mock the disability of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski for a story he wrote after the September 11 attack.
The article in question reported that authorities had detained “a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”
However, the facts of that account have never been authenticated.
Kovaleski himself said his article does not back up Trump’s widely debunked claim that thousands of New Jersey Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks.
In a recent interview on CNN, he said that he did “not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best I can remember.”
While not referring to Kovaleski by name in his speech, Trump accused the reporter of backing down from his own story.
“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy. Ah, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember,'” Trump said at the microphone, jerking his arms in front of his body and slurring his words in a crude impression of the reporter.
Kovaleski suffers from a congenital condition called arthrogryposis, which limits mobility and muscle development in the joints.
Trump’s tirade has triggered a lot of backlash as some people view his remarks and mimicry as a new low and disqualifying for a man who seeks the office of the President of the U.S.
In the meantime, the New York Times has issued a statement saying, “We think it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.”
Trump, in the meanwhile, has demanded an apology from both the New York Times and Kovaleski.
He denied that he had made fun of Kovaleski’s disability or would even recognize him.
“I merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago,” Trump wrote.
“If Mr. Kovaleski is handicapped, I would not know because I do not know what he looks like. If I did know, I would definitely not say anything about his appearance,” he added.
He also accused Kovaleski of “using his disability to grandstand.”
At the same time, advocates for people with disabilities have expressed their disgust with Trump’s remarks stating, “It is unacceptable for a child to mock another child’s disability on the playground, never mind a presidential candidate mocking someone’s disability.”
Kovaleski said it doesn’t surprise him that Trump would “do something this low rant, given his track record.”
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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