Or is he "just" poking fun at the tentative response provided by the reporter by acting "spastic."
Trump performed a derisive impression of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski -- who suffers from a chronic condition that has limited the movement of his arms -- at a rally in South Carolina on Tuesday night.
After Trump made his claim that HE PERSONALLY had seen "thousands of Arabs" celebrating the 9/11 attack in Jersey city, he backed it up by pointing to a short article from the Washington Post. The Washington Post stated that in the aftermath of Sept. 11, "Law enforcement 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." There are no other independent and similar reports from other media outlets.
On Tuesday, after Trump's supporters began citing the article as evidence for the candidate's claim, Kovaleski told CNN, "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."
It is that tentative response that Trump has chosen to characterize as "spastic." Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that limits the movement of the joints and weakens the muscles around them. As a reporter at the New York Daily News in the late 1980s and early '90s, he covered Trump's business exploits and met with the developer on several occasions. Trump boasts that he has a fantastic memory. Here is how the reporter appears.
SO....did Trump make fun of another person's disability? or was he using an immature taunt better suited to a 10 year old? Either way, does Trump appear Presidential?
Trump released a statement on Twitter Thursday afternoon, stating that he has “no idea” who Kovaleski is. “If Mr. Kovaleski is handicapped, I would not know because I do know what he looks like,” the statement reads. “If I did know, I would definitely not say anything about his appearance." Trump also accused the New York Times of being “dishonest” and trying to “make a story out of nothing.”
But Kovaleski told The Washington Post that he’s sure Trump remembers him and his physical ailments. He said that Trump’s behavior “didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me.”
It shouldn’t have, since it’s not the first time Trump has appeared to stoop to deriding someone’s physical disabilities. In July, NBC’s Katy Tur asked Trump about the criticism he received from columnists Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg -- specifically, Krauthammer calling Trump a “rodeo clown.” Trump responded, ““I went out, I made a fortune, a big fortune, a tremendous fortune … Then I get called by a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants, I get called names?”
Many at the time speculated Trump was making a crack at the fact that Krauthammer is paralyzed from the waist down. Just a few weeks earlier, Trump had derided Krauthammer as a “loser” who “just sits there."
My conclusion: The man is a bully. He takes cheap shots. He plays to the worst instincts of his crowds. The more I consider this the more I think he remembered the reporter and the more likely it is that he was indeed making fun of the man's disability.