Donald Trump released a statement Thursday claiming he was not mocking a reporter with a physical disability during a speech in South Carolina Tuesday.
Speaking in Myrtle Beach, the Republican presidential candidate appeared to be mocking the speech and arm movements of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a chronic condition that affects his movement. Kovaleski recently reported that claims Trump recently made that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the September 11 attacks were unfounded.
Trump cited Kovaleski’s coverage at Tuesday’s rally, and waved his arms in an awkward manner to lampoon the reporter.
So on Thanksgiving Day, Trump issued a statement claiming he was misunderstood.
“I have no idea who this reporter, Serge Kovalski 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 The New York Times said, “We find it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.”