At an election rally last November, Donald Trump caused outrage when he openly mocked disabled journalist Serge F Kovaleskia. The reporter suffers from a congenital disability which affects the movement of his arms. Trump was seen and filmed making flapping gestures and facial twitches whilst speaking at the South Carolina rally specifically about Kovaleskia.
“Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,” Trump said.
This is not only patronising in itself but made the situation worse by portraying the journalist’s disability in a tactless way.
The newly elected president has since denied that interpretation of his actions and stated he didn’t know who Kovaleskia even is. He started by criticising an article that was written by Kovaleskia before unnecessarily waving his arms around in a careless and insensitive manner. Having a physical disability myself, one that affects all four of my limbs and leaves me wheelchair bound, I find it insulting that a highly controversial figure has been accepted by the public as their leader. It is surprising how they have turned a blind eye after witnessing his mocking first hand to not only disability but to people of other races, religions and to women.
Pro-Trump website ‘Catholics 4 Trump’ have defended the now elected President, saying he makes similar gestures when mocking all. Despite what happened at the Rally in 2015, the election results show that as a state, Trump won South Carolina’s support by 55.8 per cent.
Taunting anyone, at any level of ‘importance’, should not be acceptable behaviour; taunting people in more vulnerable positions opens a gate for it to become ‘normal.’
I hope and pray, that this does not escalate any further. To mock anyone is terrible but to mock a person’s disability is another level entirely.