Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ridiculed Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for The New York Times who has a chronic illness, during a rally in South Carolina on Nov. 24 (video below).
Trump made a face and flailed his arms in reference to Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a condition which weakens muscles around the joints and limits movement, notes POLITICO (video below).
“Now the poor guy, you gotta to see this guy, ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said,’” Trump mocked.
Some of Trump's supporters laughed.
The billionaire turned his wrath on Kovaleski because the reporter wouldn't back up Trump's widely-debunked claim that thousands of Muslim people were celebrating in Jersey City, New Jersey, following the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.
Trump and his campaign have pushed the false claim by citing an article that Kovaleski co-wrote for The Washington Post on Sept. 18, 2001: "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."
However, Kovaleski told CNN on Nov. 24: "We did a lot of shoe leather reporting in and around Jersey City and talked to a lot of residents and officials for the broader story. Much of that has, indeed, faded from memory. But I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember."
A spokesperson for The New York Times told POLITICO on Nov. 25, "We think it's outrageous that [Trump] would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters."
However, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough laughed wildly about Trump's mockery of Kovaleski on Nov. 25, notes MediaMatters.org, and said that if Kovaleski didn't see it "he wouldn't have put it in the newspaper"
However, Kovaleski never said in the article that he personally saw the alleged celebrations as Scarborough claimed he did.
Scarborough then falsely claimed, "There's a Washington Post article that says they did" celebrate the 9/11 attack, which was quickly called out by one of his co-hosts.
Scarborough somehow missed the painfully obvious fact that Kovaleski clearly stated "allegedly" in the article, which signifies the rumored celebrations were not a proven fact.
Scarborough also scolded the media for overreacting to Trump's overreaction, but made no mention of his own inappropriate laughter which seemed to embarrass his co-host Mika Brzezinski.