Donald Trump under fire for mocking disabled reporter
- 26 November 2015
- From the section US & Canada
Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has been criticised for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter.
Mr Trump performed an impression of Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition, at a rally.
He has used a 2001 article by Mr Kovaleski to back up widely disputed claims that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.
The New York Times called Mr Trump's actions "outrageous".
'The poor guy'
Referring to the 2001 article (published by the Washington Post) at a South Carolina rally on Tuesday night, Mr Trump called Mr Kovaleski "a nice reporter".
"Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy," he continued, before launching into an apparent impression of Mr Kovaleski, waving his arms around with his hands at an odd angle.
"Uhh I don't know what I said. Uhh I don't remember. He's going like 'I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said.'"
Mr Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a condition that affects the movement of joints and is noticeable in his right arm and hand.
A New York Times spokeswoman told news site Politico: "We think it's outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,"
The original Washington Post article by Mr Kovaleski said that authorities in Jersey City "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".
Since Mr Trump's claims about Muslim Americans celebrating 9/11, the reporter has said he does "not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating".
The mayor of Jersey City has said Mr Trump's claims are "plain wrong".
Mr Kovaleski reported on Mr Trump between 1987 and 1993. He has said he is sure the businessman remembers him and his physical condition, the Washington Post reported.
"The sad part about it is, it didn't in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record," he was quoted as saying.
Donald Trump's campaign has not officially commented, but the tycoon has taken to Twitter to attack the New York Times.