Donald Trump Called Out by Disabled Reporter He's Accused of Mocking
Serge Kovaleski says he and the GOP candidate know each other, so the billionaire businessman is aware what he looks like, despite what he claims.
The New York Times reporter whose physical condition Donald Trump is accused of mocking at a recent rally said the two men have known each other for years and met on multiple occasions, so the GOP presidential candidate is aware of his appearance.
The former Apprentice host came under fire after he gave a speech on Tuesday in South Carolina where he talked about reporter Serge Kovaleski, now a Times reporter who formerly worked at The Washington Post where he wrote in 2001 about "a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the [World Trade Center] attacks."
Trump has used that article as evidence for his assertion that "thousands" of Muslims in the U.S. celebrated the 9/11 destruction; Kovaleski — who suffers from a congenital condition affecting his joint movement — has since clarified the piece.
"Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy — 'uh, I don't know what I said, uh, I don't remember,'" Trump said at the rally while appearing to mimic Kovaleski's condition.
Trump has since maintained the two men never met and he was not aware of Kovaleski's physical condition; he was mimicking a flailing reporter in general.
On Thursday, in a Times story, Kovaleski said he and Trump did in fact know each and were on a first name basis for years.
I dispute Trump's claims in today's NYT. Donald Trump Says His Mocking of New York Times Reporter Was Misread https://t.co/XHqkhfAyns— Serge Kovaleski (@sergenyt) November 27, 2015
“I’ve interviewed him in his office,” Kovaleski said, according to The Times. “I’ve talked to him at press conferences. All in all, I would say around a dozen times, I’ve interacted with him as a reporter while I was at The Daily News.”
Since his remarks about Kovaleski and then explanation, Trump has demanded an apology from The Times, which he has blasted over social media for criticizing him about the perceived Kovaleski gesturing.
So, since the people at the @nytimes have made all bad decisions over the last decade, why do people care what they write. Incompetent!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2015
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Trump said he has met countless reporters through the years and cannot remember everyone.
"The good part for Serge is that he has gotten more publicity in the last 48 hours than he has in the past 35 years – and he obviously loves it which is why he keeps pushing this ridiculous story – but that’s fine with me," Trump said in the statement.
Read Trump's full statement below:
I have met thousands of reporters over my life time. Very few treat me fairly but those that do, I have great respect for. Serge Kovaleski, who said he interviewed me in the 1980’s is grasping at straws because he is embarrassed because after fourteen years, with no retraction, he tried to change his story.
His meeting with me may have been the highlight of his career, it certainly wasn’t the highlight of mine. While I may have met him, I don’t remember it – he made no impression on me. I have done many day in the life stories with reporters - the entire day in the life usually last for a very short period as far as actual reporting goes.
I leave this message to Serge Kovaleski who I look forward to meeting or meeting again someday. Don’t change a story you wrote fourteen years ago – you lose all credibility.
The good part for Serge is that he has gotten more publicity in the last 48 hours than he has in the past 35 years – and he obviously loves it which is why he keeps pushing this ridiculous story – but that’s fine with me.
-Donald J. Trump