In an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade that aired on Thursday, Donald Trump defended his comments from last year about a disabled reporter and said he would never mock a disabled person, citing his efforts to build handicap accessible buildings as evidence.
Asked about his comments on Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a condition that limits mobility in his arms who now works for the New York Times, Trump said: “I spend millions of dollars making buildings good for people that are disabled, okay? Millions and millions of dollars. Do you think I’d ever do a thing like that?”
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that buildings accommodate people with disabilities, so Trump spent “millions” to comply with federal law. To top it off, Trump doesn’t exactly have a perfect record of making his properties handicap accessible. He’s been sued several times for not making his properties sufficiently accessible for people with disabilities, according to the Daily Beast.
Trump appeared to mock Kovaleski last year after the reporter pushed back on Trump’s use of his article to back up claims that “thousands” of New Jersey residents were seen celebrating the 9/11 attack.
Kovaleski wrote in an article for the Washington Post at the time that police were questioning “a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks,” but the story never said “thousands” and did not confirm the allegations.
Trump told Kilmeade that he had been trying to portray that Kovaleski was “groveling.”
“He was groveling to try and change a story that he had written many years before so that it worked out badly for Trump,” he said.
He also repeated his claim that he had never met Kovaleski, even though the reporter has said he met Trump repeatedly in the 1980s and 1990s while covering the real estate mogul.
“I had no idea what he looked like. He said he met me and I knew. He said he met me in the 1980s. I had no idea,” Trump said.