Jewish disability advocate chides Trump for mocking reporter

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Jewish foundation that advocates for disability inclusion chided presidential candidate Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter.

Jay Ruderman, president of the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation, offered to provide the Republican frontrunner with sensitivity training, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

“It is unacceptable for a child to mock another child’s disability on the playground, never mind a presidential candidate mocking someone’s disability as part of a national political discourse,” Ruderman said.

In an appearance Tuesday in South Carolina, Trump jerked his arms about and mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter who has arthrogryposis, a condition that makes it hard for him to manipulate his joints. “You gotta see this guy,” Trump said.

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Trump has cited a 2001 Washington Post report by Kovaleski to back up his claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were seen celebrating the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Kovaleski’s report had said only that police had detained a number of people to question them about allegations that they celebrated the attacks.

Reporters contacted Kovaleski to ask whether he subsequently corroborated the allegations and whether the allegations referred to thousands of Muslims, and not just a “number” as Kovaleski had reported.

Kovaleski, who now works for the New York Times, said the allegations never were corroborated and that he had never heard allegations that thousands of Muslims had celebrated.

Trump, in an uncharacteristically lengthy statement posted on Twitter, said he does not know Kovaleski and had not intended to mock his disability.

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