The True Story: Donald Trump Did Not Mock a Reporter’s Disability
At the Democratic National Convention speakers are repeating the claim, amplified ad nauseam by the left and establishment GOP opponents over the past year, that Donald Trump mocked the disability of New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski. This accusation has served as a very convenient tool to both smear Trump’s character and to avoid having to confront him on substantive political issues. But is it true? Here is the story the media is not telling you.
It all started on November 21, 2015 when, at a rally, Trump said he remembered seeing reports of Arab Americans celebrating the 9/11 terror attacks on rooftops in New Jersey shortly after the twin towers fell. As he told George Stephanopolous in an interview the next day on ABC’s “This Week”:
TRUMP: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering…as those buildings came down. And that tells you something…”
Stephanopolous and all of the major news outlets immediately denied the existence of any such news reports following 9/11. One paper, the Washington Post, even went so far as to write a detailed article claiming to “fact check” Mr. Trump. After an exhaustive review, the Post lectured that there was absolutely no evidence of Trump’s claim and deemed it false.
Imagine the Washington Post’s surprise when Trump uncovered one of the Washington Post’s own reporters, Serge Kovaleski, supporting the claim in an article Kovaleski wrote for them on September 18, 2001. Kovaleski wrote:
In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, 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.
Very embarrassing for the media, especially the Washington Post which had done such a great job scouring news reports after 9/11 that they missed their very own story on the subject. It was in this state of embarrassment that the media was desperate to distract from the matter. The Washington Post ended up finding Kovaleski, now writing for the New York Times, so he could do damage control. Kovaleski predictably tried to backtrack from his 2001 account saying he didn’t remember the details:
“I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating,” said Serge Kovaleski, one of the reporters. “That was not the case, as best as I can remember.”
Enter Donald Trump’s rally in South Carolina soon thereafter. During the rally Trump pointed all of this out and paraphrased Kovaleski’s backtracking as he impersonated a groveling reporter changing his story under pressure. While he did this, Trump moved his hands around quickly, acting flustered.
Soon thereafter, the media revealed still photos of Kovaleski with his right hand in a permanently flexed position downward announcing that he was disabled. The media then shifted from trying to defend their oversight of the 9/11 Post article and instead, with disapproving shocked outrage, accused Trump of mocking a reporter’s disability. Some liberals went even further and freeze-framed a millisecond of the
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