US Republican presidential nomination candidate Donald Trump hit back at critics late Thursday, after apparently mocking a reporter, who has a disability, at a campaign rally.
“I do not know the reporter for the @nytimes, or what he looks like,” Trump said on Twitter.
He also demanded an apology from the reporter’s newspaper, the New York Times, which said it was “outraged that he would ridicule the physical appearance of one of our reporters.”
A video of the rally showed Trump reading from an article by reporter Serge Kovaleski, and then going on to say, while jerking his arms up and down: “Now the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy … ugh … I don’t know what I said … ugh … I don’t remember.”
Trump denied he was imitating the reporter’s disability – a congenital joint condition called arthrogryposis.
“I was showing a person groveling to take back a statement made long ago,” Trump said on Twitter.
His criticism of the reporter was related to a controversy over whether “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey had celebrated the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings in 2011, as Trump has previously said.
Kovaleski has since stated that he met Trump about a dozen times, and that they were “on a first-name basis for years.”
Kovaleski “should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes,” Trump said in a statement on Twitter.