SOUTH CAROLINA — The New York Times is angry that Donald Trump mocked one of its reporters who has a physical disability.
Trump waved his arms in an awkward manner to lampoon Serge Kovaleski at a rally in South Carolina Tuesday night. Kovaleski has a chronic condition called arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his arms.
The New York Times was offended. “We find it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,” a spokesperson told CNNMoney.
Trump’s performance was prompted by a story Kovaleski had written in 2001 that refuted claims that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City cheered the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Trump is insisting that he saw “thousands” of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City, N.J., as the twin towers burned fell on the other side of the Hudson River.
Kovaleski worked for the Washington Post in 2001 and investigated those reports immediately after the terror attack. His story concluded that the alleged celebrations by Muslims didn’t happen.
He was interviewed this week by the Washington Post about his 2001 reporting. “I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember,” Kovaleski told the Post.
Trump used an exaggerated voice and arm action as he pretended to be Kovaleski.
“Now the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy: ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said,’ ” Trump said.
Trump knows Kovaleski and is aware of his physical appearance from the years when Kovaleski worked at the New York Daily News and frequently covered Trump. On Thursday, he released the following statement on his official Twitter account:
Trump has frequently attacked reporters who have displeased him during his presidential campaign. One of his targets has been Fox host Megyn Kelly who angered Trump with her questions during the first GOP debate on Fox. He has ridiculed Kelly and her show.
He has also attacked conservative commentators including Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson, Charles Krauthammer and George Will. His descriptions have ranged from “total dope” to “loser.”