After being heavily criticized for mocking Serge Kovaleski—the New York Times reporter who has been clashing with the presidential candidate over his widely debunked claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11—at a South Carolina rally, Trump refused to heed a cavalcade of calls to apologize. On Thursday, content with what he was thankful for (himself), Trump tweeted a long statement lashing out at both Kovaleski (whose name he misspelled) and the Times and demanding that they apologize to him.
“I have no idea who this reporter, Serge Kovalski [sic] is, what he looks like, or his level of intelligence. I don’t know if he is J.J. Watt or Muhammad Ali in his prime—or somebody of less athletic or physical ability,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post that vehemently denied that he mocked the reporter, who suffers from a muscoskeletal disorder that impacts his arms. “Despite having one of the all-time great memories I certainly do not remember him.”
Speaking to the Times’s Maggie Haberman, Kovaleski described a history of interactions with Trump that went back decades: “He met with Mr. Trump repeatedly when he was a reporter for The Daily News. ... ‘Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years. I’ve interviewed him in his office. I’ve talked to him at press conferences. All in all, I would say around a dozen times, I’ve interacted with him as a reporter while I was at The Daily News.” So either Trump’s “all-time great” memory is at fault here or he was, in fact, purposefully mocking Kovaleski’s disability. Sad!