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 Trump video at the exact moment when his hand went into a flexed posture. Then they dishonestly put this screen capture side by side with a picture of Kovaleski’s flexed hand. Thus, you saw the following photo spread like wildfire over social media with commentary condescendingly and horrifyingly excoriating trump as a monster:
The media’s clear implication was that Trump was mocking the way Kovaleski moved his arms. People watching the clip of Trump’s impersonation only knew that Kovaleski was disabled. Thus, they naturally assumed Kovaleski’s disability must be similar to cerebral palsy where he has limited control of his movements and is prone to have muscle spasms or move his arms in jerky motions as Trump was doing at the rally. This is precisely the image the media wanted in people’s minds. They wanted this to be the story: that Donald Trump knowingly and intentionally mocked the flailing arm motions of someone who can’t control his muscles. They knew this would naturally trigger a visceral reaction of disgust from viewers and outrage amongst the disabled and all decent Americans, many of whom, to this day, think this is exactly what happened. Is it?
What the media did not choose to show you was video of Serge Kovaleski. Notice how the media only showed and still shows photos of him. This was done for a reason. As it turns out, Kovaleski’s disability is a congenital condition called arthrogryposis. Arthrogryposis causes restricted movement in the joints but does not cause spasms or uncontrolled moving of the limbs like cerebral palsy does.To show the depths of the deceit, one CNN reporter explained, while displaying a still photo of him, that Kovaleski, “suffers from a chronic condition that impairs movement of his arms.” Again, the implication is that Kovaleski can’t control his arms from moving. To the contrary, Kovaleski appears perfectly calm when giving interviews. Thus, if Trump truly wanted to mock Kovaleski’s disability, he would have had to stand perfectly still with a flexed right hand and not flail his arms. don’t believe me? Watch the video:
In addition, Trump used the same flailing arm movements in a South Carolina rally to impersonate a flustered Ted Cruz being asked about waterboarding. To my knowledge Cruz is not physically disabled:
Thus the true story is as follows: Donald Trump embarrassed the media by finding the 9/11 Washington Post article. The media found the reporter who tried to backtrack. Trump impersonated the reporter backtracking. Media points out the reporter is disabled, but only releases still photos of his flexed hand. Public assumes from Trump’s impersonation and being told by the media that he is mocking a disabled man that the reporter must not be able to control his arms and Trump is a dirtbag who hates the disabled. In reality muscle spasms or involuntary arm movements are not part of the reporter’s disability. Therefore Trump could not be mocking a disability that doesn’t exist. Hear Trump respond to the claim below, which perfectly coincides with the series of events described above:
Thus, Trump’s impersonations of a flustered reporter several months ago was turned into a left-wing and Establishment GOP narrative whereby Trump somehow hates the disabled. This despite the fact that Trump has given millions to charities that help the disabled including raising nearly six million dollars for Wounded Warriors just recently, a million of which was his own money. In addition, Liz Crokin, a journalist who covered Donald trump for ten years recalls the following:
In 1988, a commercial airline refused to fly Andrew Ten, a sick Orthodox Jewish child with a rare illness, across the country to get medical care because he had to travel with an elaborate life-support system. His grief stricken parents contacted Trump for help and he didn’t hesitate to send his own plane to take the child from Los Angeles to New York so he could get his treatment…
In 2000, Maury Povich featured a little girl named Megan who struggled with Brittle Bone Disease on his show and Trump happened to be watching. Trump said the little girl’s story and positive attitude touched his heart. So he contacted Maury and gifted the little girl and her family with a very generous check…
Please keep this in mind and spread the word whenever you hear the left continually claim Trump is against disabled people at the Democratic Convention this week.
UPDATED on 7/28/16
It turns out that at the very same South Carolina rally Trump imitated Kovaleski, he also used similar arm and hand gestures to imitate a very non-disabled general who was asked about ISIS. Do you remember the media reporting this? Watch below:
Also, in addition to Kovaleski’s 2001 Washington Post piece, further confirmation of Trump’s recollection came out to embarrass the media. As it turns out, Trump’s story was also confirmed on a local CBS station shortly after 9/11:
…Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and had evidence removed, there is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by neighbors and found eight men celebrating , six of them tenants in the building.
The F.B.I. and other terrorist task force agencies arrived, and the older investigators on the task force recalled that they had been to this building before, eight years ago, when the first World Trade Center attack led them to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose Jersey City mosque lies between the two buildings getting attention today. And the older investigators remember that the suspects that eventually got convicted for the first Trade Center case … lived in the building where these same eight men were celebrating the destruction that they saw from the roof. Calling this a hot address, the task force investigators ordered everyone detained…
UPDATED on 7/31 – Angie Grover just released a new video that puts it all together. Check it out.
Addendum – Rebuttals to Common Objections (7/31)
1.) “You should see this guy” is a figure of speech. Trump says it all the time whether he has personally met people or not, based on what they have said or were reported to have said. He also says “seems like a nice guy”, “probably a nice guy” often when he’s asked to comment on someone critical of him he isn’t very familiar with in order to look like he has nothing against them personally. We’ve watched hours and hours of Trump’s rallies. He does this all the time. “You should see this guy,” was referring to what the reporter wrote trying to backpedal from his story that he was about to read (and did read) to the crowd.
2.) “Poor guy” refers to the fact that Kovaleski was then facing the wrath of the left-wing media putting pressure on him to explain his 2001 article lending that appeared to lend credence to Trump’s claims and embarrassed them. They desperately needed him to explain away his previous reporting. This is all readily apparent from the video in context. Trump explains this is what he thinks is happening, in the very video the media selectively edited, right AFTER the impersonation. He explains that Kovaleski feels he has to do this to placate his media friends. But you probably haven’t seen that part have you? Hmm.
3.) When was Trump going to see the reporter on TV on video explaining his story? It never happened because the media (purposely in our opinion) never showed video of the man because they wanted people to think he is spastic. This is what they knew the audience would naturally think if they see a picture of Trump acting spastic and then plaster “Trump mocks disabled reporter” on top of it. The audience would assume Trump is mocking the man’s spastic disability. So, Trump had no opportunity to see the reporter on TV reacting to the 9/11 story.
4.) Even if Trump HAD seen the reporter somehow on video, he would then know the reporter is not spastic, so imitating him as spastic would make no sense. If he really wanted to mock his disability he’d have to have made a fixed tight flexed right hand held close to his body. This is what the reporter looks like in realty. The reporter’s condition prohibits him from moving his right arm to any great extent at all, much less flailing it around. In addition, we’ve shown three videos where Trump is making similar flailing motions imitating someone who can’t answer a question and is flummoxed. This is his standard impression of someone caught trying to answer a question they can’t answer. A new video puts it all three incidents together here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oTqFoOGiro
5.) Opponents say that Trump met Kovelski in the late 80’s when he did stories on him. Trump admits he may very well have met him back then in the video of Trump wearing the red hat that I posted above. Watch it again. But Trump meets thousands of reporters a week. The number of reporters he had to have met in his life and since the 80’s are astronomical. Not being able to recognize the name “Kovaleski” as someone he supposedly met over a decade ago is totally understandable. And again, even if he did somehow remember the man, the man was not spastic. Neither were Ted Cruz or the General he imitated in similar fashion.
Look, nobody believes Trump is a saint, but we find this particular narrative the media ran with, after they were starting to come under fire for not being truthful in immediately rejecting Trump’s claims about celebrations in NJ, to be particularly egregious and felt it needed to be pointed out.
Typically if Trump does something politically incorrect he owns it and doubles down on it. Instead, Trump denies he knowingly made fun of the man’s disability to this day and consistently explains he has no recollection of him. Here is an interview he did on 7/28, just a few days ago where he addresses the issue.
Start at 4:45:
Response to New Dishonest Washington Post “Fact Check” Article From 8/2
Please read by clicking on headline below:
UPDATE AUGUST 6 – Full Video of Serge Kovaleski Interview:
For those liberals still in denial that the media would lie to them, here is the full interview of Kovaleski. It demonstrates that his disability does not in any way cause his arm to flail or jerk or move in any capacity. If anything, it appears to fix his arm by his body in a bent position. Kovaleski is in the striped shirt:
(Note: On January 19, 2017 we noticed that the full interview footage of Serge Kovaleski showing clearly that he was not spastic, was no longer available on YouTube. The original link was https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydGOPzW227E. It now says, “This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.” We have now replaced the original link to the YouTube video with a another link to the same video found in the New York Times website archives below.)
UPDATE AUGUST 8 – Trump said he saw “THOUSANDS” of people celebrating!
Some of those in denial are starting to nitpick that there is no evidence that “thousands” of people celebrated in New Jersey on 9/11 as Trump stated in his original comments. Trump exaggerating? Shocking! After using the term thousands initially, Trump did not mention “thousands” again to my knowledge. But he did, as we point out in the Stephanopolous interview, continue to insist that there were people celebrating in New Jersey and that it was reported on. He says to Stephanopolous:
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 that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
STEPHANOPOULOS:“As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.
Notice, Stephanopolous’ response. “The police have said it didn’t happen.” As in…AT ALL. And this is what the media was claiming after Trump’s statement. Not that there were not thousands celebrating, but that there were NO reports of ANYONE celebrating in New Jersey. This was their position for days afterwards. WaPo even got so confident that there was no evidence, they went and published a fact check article all but saying Trump was lying. This is precisely why it was so embarrassing for the media, especially WaPo when it turns out their own reporter had stated people saw celebrations on rooftops in Jersey City. It was the height of Washington Post negligence and/or complicity in hiding exculpatory evidence for Trump and they were embarrassingly and publicly called on it.
As more and more evidence came out proving that there were indeed celebrations in New Jersey on 9/11, the media, including Kovaleski, retreated into desperately clinging to Trump’s original exaggeration that there were “thousands” of people doing so and trying to say that the exaggeration was not accurate, while never admitting Trump was correct in substance and they were wrong.
Perhaps Trump on 9/11 in 2001 was getting the TV coverage of thousands of people celebrating in the Middle East mixed up with the story he heard about people celebrating on 9/11 in Jersey City. We have no idea. But the only thing that matters for our purposes is that Trump said people celebrated in Jersey City and that it was reported at the time, and the media said, in the words of George Stephanopolous, “It didn’t happen.” Wrong and game over for the media.
Please check out the following article:
UPDATE AUGUST 8 – Yeah, but Trump is just mocking a generic disabled person!
This is another response we’ve heard to our story. And it shows that people did not read the story carefully. Our point is that Trump had no idea Kovaleski was disabled at all. Kovaleski claims (and the media just unquestioningly takes his word for it) that he covered Trump in the late 80’s and/or early 90’s. Trump says it’s possible but he has zero recollection of him. As we point out, this is completely plausible as Trump has most likely met hundreds of thousands of reporters since then. Most people can’t even recognize someone they met a year ago, much less almost 20 and most people don’t meet nearly as many people as a famous celebrity does on a daily basis.
Secondly, if Trump is lying and somehow did remember Kovaleski standing there with one arm held fixed next to his chest talking calmly and seriously, it would be ridiculous for him to then deliberately try to mock him in front of millions of Americans by using spastic arm and hand movements which have nothing to do with Kovaleski’s disability. Plus, Trump made similar motions impersonating a flustered Cruz and a General who didn’t know how to answer a question. The common link here is that all three impersonations were of people who were flustered. None had a disability which caused arm and hand flailing. The only logical conclusion is that this is simply Trump’s impersonation of someone who is “flustered.”
Another point is the power of suggestion that the media deceptively used on the public. Every video of Trump was labeled with a prominent title of “Trump Mocks Disabled Reporter” or words to that effect, accompanied by the obligatory still shot of Kovaleski with a flexed wrist. Thus, every single person who viewed the video of Trump with those words was conditioned to believe that he was mocking a disabled person. From then on, even when confronted with contrary evidence, some simply cannot “unsee” Trump mocking a disabled person when they look at the video. They will keep saying, “You can’t tell me he didn’t mock a disabled person! I saw the video!”
For example, take look at the drawing of this young lady with her head turned below:
Now it could be said that this drawing is of an old woman instead. But if you see the picture for the first time and it is labeled as, “Picture of a Young Woman,” this is what you will assume and this is what you will see; just like people saw Trump mocking a disabled reporter when the media slapped the label on the video.
As Our Lord said, “Those who have eyes to see, let them see.” And, to turn a phrase, there are none so blind as the willfully blind.
UPDATE – AUGUST 15 – Dishonest WaPo deletes comment providing the videos they withheld from the public.
On August 10th the Washington Post’s Callum Borchers wrote a particularly dishonest piece called, “People love it when Donald Trump makes fun of journalists — except one in particular” . It reported on a recent Bloomberg poll that asked respondents what statement/action of Trump’s bothered them the most. Still waiting for the Hillary version of this? You’ll be waiting along time. Of course, one of the actions the poll asked people to rate was “Trump’s criticism of a reporter that was seen as mocking the reporter’s physical disability.” Note “that was seen as…” Don’t you love it? Who saw it that way? People who watched the video of Trump with the media caption “Trump mocks disabled reporter” plastered on it? The media created the impression that Trump was mocking the reporter’s disability when in fact this was not the case as we have shown above. Now the media is polling to see how outraged people are over a fiction that they created. Pretty neat.
Borchers does all of the misleading things we point out. He has the video of Trump freeze framed at the precise moment that Trump’s right hand is flexed down. Then he has the obligatory still photo of Kovaleski with his right hand flexed, giving the impression Trump is mocking him. Predictably, Borchers does not have the courage to show the public video of Kovaleski, because then it would be obvious to his readers that Kovaleski is not spastic and Trump could not possibly have been mocking his disability. Also, Borchers does not show video of Trump impersonating a flustered General at the same rally he imitated the flustered reporter. Nor was Borchers honest enough to show video of Trump imitating a flustered Cruz with the same type of arm and hand gestures. But the most egregious falsehood Borchers tells is what follows:
Nine months after a rally in South Carolina where Trump contorted his arms in a way that was clearly meant to imitate the effects of arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in the arms of journalist Serge F. Kovaleski, voters say the incident still disturbs them.
Note: “that was clearly meant to imitate the effects of arthrogryposis.” It’s remarkable how Borchers can read Trump’s mind. But it’s even more remarkable how he begs the question. He simply expects us to take his word for it, that Trump falling his arms and hands was “clearly meant” to imitate the effects of a condition that results in fixed joints that can’t be moved very well at all. However, as we demonstrated above, video of Kovaleski proves that his disability in no way causes him to move in any way similar to Trump.
A comment was then placed in the comments section of the article, explaining these facts and linking to this article and another article on our site with video evidence giving an alternate explanation for Trump’s actions. It was allowed to be posted and then quickly deleted. This demonstrates that the Washington Post is aware of evidence out there that contradicts their conclusions, and that they are willfully attempting to conceal it from their readers. If Borchers and WaPo were honest and truly wanted to report ALL of the evidence for and against and let the readers decide, they would have to include the video of Kovaleski and the video of Trump impersonating a flustered General and a flustered Cruz. Any objective report would include both evidence for and against a certain interpretation of the Trump video.
However, as we have seen, WaPo is not interested in the truth or being objective. The have one sole objective and that is to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. They will stoop to every level of dishonesty including the hiding of facts and evidence from their readers to create the appearance of a story that hurts Trump’s chances among voters. Fortunately, for the public and for the sake of the truth, we are here to expose WaPo’s dishonesty and provide the public with ALL of the facts and both sides of the story so they can decide for themselves.
Update September 2, 2016
Ann Coulter has linked to this article and other similar ones in her latest column entitled, “MEDIA INVENTED LIE ABOUT TRUMP MOCKING DISABLED REPORTER”.
Predictably, the Washington Post’s Callum Borchers responded the very next day with yet another misleading hit piece entitled, “Ann Coulter says she can prove Donald Trump never mocked a reporter’s disability. (She can’t.)”
We immediately responded with a new piece entitled, “WaPo Claims Ann Coulter is Wrong to Say Trump Didn’t Mock Reporter’s Disability. (She Isn’t.)
In it we, yet again, pick apart and expose Mr. Borcher’s misleading and selective cherry picking of facts in order to present the truth.
The media will truly stop at nothing in this election to see to it that their gal, Crooked Hillary, wins and takes as many rights away from their political enemies as possible. Don’t let it happen! Vote Trump November 8th!
Update September 8, 2016
Two new videos were found of Trump making similar impersonations BEFORE the November 25, 2015 rally where he impersonated the flustered reporter. We summarize all the videos up to this point in chronological order here: https://www.catholics4trump.com/even-more-video-evidence-trump-did-not-mock-reporters-disability/
“The first impersonation we found took place on May 17, 2005, a good sixteen years before Trump impersonated a flustered New York Times reporter:
As you can see, Trump has an open mouth and both wrists are flexed downward as he impersonated a flustered version of himself forced to go on a hypothetical vacation. The full clip can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4XfyYFa9yo The clip in question begins around the 8 minute mark.
The next video was brought to our attention by a Catholics 4 Trump reader named Noel who linked to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFO9ww1xMqo originally posted to YouTube by All Things Trump on July 1, 2016.
We cleaned up the quality of the video and added slow motion in the version below:
As you can see, Trump once again opens his mouth, flexes his right wrist downward, and shakes it as he imitates a flustered bank president afraid of regulations. This took place at a rally in Norfolk, VA on October 31, 2015, a full twenty five days before Trump would impersonate a flustered New York Times reporter. The full speech can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcJljz-Adko The clip in question begins at the 1 hour 7 minute mark.”
Update October 29, 2016
Trump making the exact same arm motions to impersonate a flustered Donna Brazile at a rally in Sanford, FL on 10/25/16.