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 that has 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…
ADDED: People are arguing falsely that the fact that only 8 suspects were apprehended contradicts the “swarm” claim. Read it again. An “investigator” told CBS about the “swarm.” The fact that a certain number were brought into custody does not change the fact that there was a “swarm.” The obvious impression is that of the “swarm,” only eight were brought into custody. Eight people do not swarm on all those rooftops. They “gather.” Look at the video of the rooftop and picture “swarming.”
You want to get into semantics about how many people make up a swarm?
But that’s not all.
You have to add up all of the contemporaneous news reports. You are Donald Trump. You are taking in all the news during that awful week. You are told by the media that “swarms” of Muslims in a known terrorist’s neighborhood were seen on rooftops celebrating 9/11. Just two days earlier you have read this in the New York Post:
Here in New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attack in New York and Washington. But Mayor Giuliani (who has been tireless and magnificent in this crisis) rightly warned New Yorker-ers that is would be wrong to take their anger our on the city’s Arab and Muslim residents. Attacks on Arab-Americans in Paterson or elsewhere are utterly indefensible.
You hear radio news reports about Muslims celebrations.
MTV runs a news report about Muslim celebrations.
From all of those news reports, it is perfectly reasonable and nothing close to lying to put together a picture of “thousands”.
FACT: Donald Trump is now 100% vindicated.
If these celebrations did not occur, the only thing Trump did wrong was to believe the same media that is now calling him a liar — and doing so to cover up the truth about American Muslims celebrating 9/11 and their own covering up of that fact.
Numerous times I’ve suggested Trump exaggerated the “thousands” claim, and for that I apologize.