Donald Trump may have the money and ego to be president, but he lacks a necessary filter and diplomatic tact that continues to cause controversy and outrage wherever he goes. Still, the Republican front-runner has denied making fun of disabled Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis at a rally in South Carolina Tuesday. According to video shot at the event, Trump was imitating Kovaleski’s jerky movements while berating him for his recent recollection of an article he wrote a few days after the 9/11 attacks for the Washington Post. Trump has been citing that report to defend his (unsubstantiated) claim that “thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were seen celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers. However, according to Mr. Kovaleski, while the article was “about New Jersey authorities detaining and questioning a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks, the story did not suggest ‘thousands’ were celebrating.”
“Poor guy, you oughta see this guy, Uh. I don’t know what I said. Uh I don’t remember,” Trump stated in a mocking tone while he imitated Kovaleski, who has visibly limited flexibility in his arms.
In fact, children afflicted with arthrogryposis are born with one or more joint contractures and have abnormal fibrosis of the muscle tissue causing muscle shortening, and therefore are unable to perform passive extension and flexion in the affected joint or joints. While the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine states AMC symptoms differ drastically from person to person, including stiff joints and muscle weakness. The areas that are most likely to have lack of movement are the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, and feet. The lack of movement, unlike many other diseases, however, does not get worse as time goes by. However, it is necessary to seek treatment to prevent further impediments of the joints.”
It should also be noted that Trump’s assertions about Muslims celebrating in 2001 have been fact-checked and discredited by law enforcement and government officials who spent days and weeks in New Jersey following the terrorist attacks.
Although Mr. Trump has continues to deny that he made fun of Kovelaski, he has accused the reporter of “using his disability to grandstand,” and demanded an apology from Kovelaski’s employer, the New York Times, which earlier in the week issued a statement condemning the Republican presidential candidate for ”ridiculing” one of its reporters.