Either Donald Trump has one of the world’s greatest memories, as he himself has claimed multiple times, or he really doesn’t remember Serge Kovaleski, the New York Times reporter whose disability the Republican presidential frontrunner has been accused of mocking. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that both of those things can’t be true.
Trump came under fire last week when he appeared to imitate Kovaleski at a campaign appearance. Kovaleski had written an article for the Washington Post where he worked years ago that Trump claims supports his story that Muslim Americans in Jersey City celebrated the 9/11 attacks by the thousands.
Kovaleski, in an interview about the piece, said that the information about unspecified people having tailgate-like celebrations after the attacks was unconfirmed. He added that there had never been any suggestion that there were thousands, or even hundreds of people celebrating the attacks.
Trump, as he does, immediately went on the attack, and in the controversial campaign speech, waved his hands in a way that appeared to imitate Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a disease that severely limits the movement of his arms.
Trump immediately fired back, saying that not only would he never mock a disabled person, but adding that he couldn’t possibly have been mocking Kovaleski, because he doesn’t know him.
However, as Kovaleski pointed out, he had covered Trump closely for the New York Daily News in the 1980s, interviewed him personally, and was “on a first-name basis” with the billionaire.
On Monday, Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent contacted former Daily News columnist Andrew Gluck who co-wrote multiple stories about Trump with Kovaleski. Now the CEO of a financial marketing and technology company, Gluck said Trump’s claim not to know Kovaleski was not credible. He recalled sitting in Trump’s office for two hours with Kovaleski during an extended interview, and said his former colleague’s coverage of Trump continued well after that.
“Serge sat at the desk across from me,” Gluck told Sargent. “I remember him being on the phone with Trump….They would talk about the coverage. They would talk about the story.”
Current odds on Trump backtracking in the face of additional evidence against his claims are running at about one billion-to-one against.