Business mogul and presidential hopeful Donald Trump is at the center of controversy once again after he appeared to have mocked a New York Times journalist with a special physical condition that affects movement of his limbs. However, Trump firmly denies ever mocking a disabled person in his rally.
During his campaign speech in South Carolina on Tuesday, the GOP frontrunner defended his claims that thousands of Muslim Americans were seen cheering during the September 11 terror attack in 2001. He then mimicked reporter Serge Kovaleski, the journalist who wrote the article he used as reference.
“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’ ” the businessman said in front of his supporters as he made odd movements with his arms during his speech. Kovaleski has congenital arthrogryposis, a condition that limits the movements of his arms.
Donald Trump Allegedly Mocks Disabled Reporter In SC Campaign Rally
On Thursday, Donald Trump denied making fun at the reporter’s physical condition. The Republican candidate, who has been called “narcissistic” by a few reputable psychology experts, demanded an apology from the publication.
Trump said his gestures were not aimed at anyone and claimed he “merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago.”
In a Twitter post, Donald Trump also denied ever knowing Kovaleski and said he respects people with special physical conditions. He said he did not know how the reporter looks like nor his disability.
“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 firing back at the reporter. “He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”
Trump, who said thousands of Muslims cheered as the World Trade Center crumbles backed up his claims by citing an article written by Kovaleski for the Washington Post back in 2001 which said, “authorities detained and questioned 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, Kovaleski, in an interview with MSNBC, said he did not recall “anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating” at the time.
WATCH: Donald Trump says he heard from ‘hundreds’ who saw 9/11 celebrations in U.S. pic.twitter.com/D5deMIbLR1
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 24, 2015
Although the allegations were never supported by facts, the rumors have persisted since the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, officials have confirmed no such thing happened, and the original story did not indicate that thousands were rejoicing during the attack.
According to The Washington Post, they have searched their archives and examined news clips from that time but found nothing.
Kovaleski’s friends and colleagues defended the reporter while criticizing Donald Trump for his insensitive behavior. A spokesperson for The New York Times, where Kovaleski is currently working commented on the issue saying they found it “outrageous” that Trump would ridicule the physical appearance of one of their reporters.
Donald Trump slammed the newspaper in his official statement on Thursday where he said instead of releasing dishonest and bad write-ups against him, they should focus more on the survival of their newspaper. Aiming at the newspaper outlet, he said, “The New York Times has become more and more irrelevant and rapidly becoming a total joke — sad!”
The numbers at the @nytimes are so dismal, especially advertising revenue, that big help will be needed fast. A once great institution-SAD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2015
Meanwhile, in the wake of the mocking incident, a Boston-based advocacy group offered sensitivity training to the Republican presidential candidate on Thursday. However, Donald Trump’s team has not yet responded to the training offer.
[Image by Scott Olson, Getty Images]