New York Times Slams 'Outrageous' Donald Trump for Mocking Reporter's Disability
The New York Times has criticised Donald Trump as “outrageous” after the Republican presidential front-runner mocked one of its reporters and appeared to imitate his disability.
In a speech to supporters on Tuesday night, Trump derided Serge Kovaleski – a reporter for the newspaper who has disputed Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks – while flailing and twisting his arms.
Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.
In 2001, he was a journalist at the Washington Post and one of the authors of a report cited by Trump in defence of his 9/11 claim. (The Washington Post has since added a disclaimer to the report, distancing it from the claims.)
The 2001 report said that “law enforcement authorities [in Jersey City] detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops”.
In the wake of Trump’s insistence that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the World Trade Center was destroyed, Kovaleski this week said he did not recall “anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating”.
“We did a lot of shoe leather reporting in and around Jersey City and talked to a lot of residents and officials for the broader story. Much of that has, indeed, faded from memory.
“I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember,” he told CNN.
On Tuesday evening, at a rally in South Carolina, Trump tore into this account, telling supporters: “Now the poor guy. You ought to see the guy: ‘Err, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’
“He’s going: ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’”
As he spoke, Trump waved his arms around and held his hand in front of his chest in a claw-like position.
“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,” Kovaleski told the Washington Post.
A spokesperson for the New York Times told Politico: “We think it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.”