3:11 pm ET3:11 pm ET By Maggie Haberman3:11 pm ET3:11 pm ETMaggie HabermanPhotoDonald J. Trump, seen here at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, has been criticized this week for appearing to mock a reporter's disability.Credit Paul Vernon/Associated PressThe New York Daily News released an archived news article on Friday that seemed to contradict a claim by Donald J. Trump that he knew nothing about a reporter whose disability Mr. Trump appeared to mock at a rally earlier this week.
The reporter, Serge Kovaleski, said Thursday that he covered Mr. Trump numerous times while he was at The Daily News, including on a daylong maiden voyage of the now-defunct Trump Shuttle in 1989. Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years, he said of the real-estate developer in the Thursday interview.
Mr. Trump drew criticism after he mocked Mr. Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that limits his ability to move his joints, during a South Carolina rally.
Mr. Kovaleski, while working as a reporter for The Washington Post, wrote an article on Sept. 18, 2001, in which he described the authorities detaining and questioning a number of people who were alleged to have been seen celebrating at tailgate-style parties on roofs in New Jersey, watching the devastation of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center site a week earlier.
Mr. Trump has used that 2001 news article to try to justify his claim that he had watched as thousands and thousands of people had cheered in Jersey City on the day of the attacks. Mr. Kovaleski has since said that his reporting did not bear out thousands or even hundreds. The article did not address whether those claims of celebrations had been substantiated, and officials later said that such reports were unfounded.
After reading the relevant paragraph from the 2001 article at his South Carolina rally, Mr. Trump described Mr. Kovaleski as nice before saying, Now this poor guy, you ought to see this guy. He then jerked his arms around in front of his body, and used a mocking tone to imitate Mr. Kovaleski.
Mr. Trump put out two statements through Twitter on Thursday. In one, he was definitive at length that he had no idea who Mr. Kovaleski is or that he knew anything about him. In the other, he seemed to allow for the possibility that he may have met him, but said he had doubt that was the case.