Trump denies mocking disabled reporter, demands apology
There are any number of things that you’ll never get Donald Trump to apologize for, (okay… that includes pretty much everything) but now we have one more to add to the list. The Donald had previously made some statements about American Muslims cheering after the 9/11 attacks – along with Ben Carson, depending when you ask him – and he referenced work by New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski to support his claim. After Kovaleski backed off on parts of his original coverage and impressions of the events, Trump mocked him at one of his rallies. The way he did it, however, has drawn yet another round of massive media criticism. The reporter suffers from arthrogryposis, which restricts the movement of his limbs and Trump’s mocking included some hand gestures which the Times (and every media figure in the ensuing dog pile) concluded was a vulgar display, intentionally mocking Kovaleski’s disability. And apology was demanded yet again, but Trump came out on Thanksgiving and concluded that the New York Times actually owes him an apology. (Washington Post)
In a statement Thursday, Trump adamantly denied that his comments or gestures were meant to mock Kovaleski. He also denied remembering Kovaleski at all — “despite having one of the all-time great memories.”
“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. “He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”…
In his statement Thursday, Trump said: “I have no idea who this reporter, Serge Kovalski [sic] is, what he looks like or his level of intelligence. I don’t know if he is J.J. Watt or Muhammad Ali in his prime — or somebody of less athletic or physical ability. Despite having one of the all-time great memories I certainly do not remember him.”
It’s not my job to defend Donald Trump 24/7 and if it were I would ask for a raise because I’d need to publish approximately forty articles per day. This story, however, caught my attention as soon as I started seeing all of the outrage on CNN and other cable news outlets on Wednesday. I’ll just start by saying that, unlike Trump, I do not have one of the great all-time memories. In fact, the older I get, the less reliable I find it at times. This may serve as some sort of excuse for the fact that I had to go Google Serge Kovaleski when this story broke. I seemed to recall seeing his name, likely in his bylines, but I absolutely had zero idea what the guy looked like and had no idea whatsoever that he suffered from any sort of disability.
Did Donald Trump know? I am also pathetically bad at mind reading, so I have no clue on that score.
But what I did want to share with you was my initial reaction to seeing Trump’s mocking of the reporter. And to be absolutely clear, he was mocking him. But Trump mocks everyone sooner or later. It’s a daily event. And when I saw him doing that in front of a crowd of cheering supporters, I didn’t get any sort of impression that he was making fun of somebody for any problem with their hands. Perhaps that’s because I didn’t know who he was talking about… I can’t really say. I’m only dealing with first impressions here. Maybe if I’d known of Kovaleski’s condition I might have reacted differently, but at the moment he just seemed to be making fun of the reporter for changing his story and portraying him as a confused, wavering liberal.
But is that what Trump was doing or was he actually being mean spirited and mimicking Kovaleski’s hands? I don’t know because, as I said above, I can’t read minds. And neither can anyone else. Being suspicious by nature, I tend to think this was just the next in a long line of instances where the liberal media has cried out “Gotcha!” in unison, thinking they have finally found the magic arrow in their quiver that will bring The Donald low.
Excuse me if I don’t bet all of my Christmas presents on that happening.