Donald Trump is apparently testing yet another piece of political conventional wisdom. Having already conquered such long standings assumptions as “A Presidential candidate shouldn’t talk and act like a sixth grader” and “A candidate shouldn’t embarrass his party every time he opens his mouth,” Trump is now setting his sights on the classic, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up,” but with an impressive extra challenge.
He is now trying to cover up the fact that he grotesquely mocked the disability of a New York Times reporter in a public appearance that was videotaped.
Trump actually is denying that he did what he was obviously doing. Very bold, very intrepid. It will be fascinating to see if he can pull it off.
Here’s Trump, after the Times excoriated him for ridiculing reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a malady that limits flexibility in his arms:
“Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago – if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did. He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”
Odd that Trump didn’t remember him, since before doing his “man with weird arm movements” bit he said quite clearly, “Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy…” One doesn’t normally call a reporter “a poor guy” for no reason, nor does one say, “You’ve got to see this guy” if you aren’t going to show the crowd what it is they have to see.”
Never mind, Trump is going for it: the full “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”, or as Jimmy Durante put it, in the show that gave the Ethics Alarms category it’s name, “Elephant? What elephant?”
This kind of lie, the worst and most insulting of them all, does undermine Trump’s claim of candor and honesty, however. His surrogates are taking a different, if brazenly unethical tack. I just watched a Trump mouthpiece argue that the Times was using a double standard, since it didn’t criticize Obama’s 2008 campaign for mocking the fact that John McCain didn’t use a computer, which was because of his disability.
Weak. Weaker than weak. Pathetic, really:
- But Obama wasn’t “just as bad,” unless I forgot the famous video of Obama doing his John McCain imitation, which I am fairly certain that, if it happened, the Times would have condemned like everyone else except the NAACP.
- So Trump’s personal Lanny Davis was left arguing a bad analogy and claiming that the issue is media double standards, when the only issue is whether someone who acts like a cruel, boorish, mean spirited buffoon on video and then has the gall to claim it never happened has disqualified himself as a serious candidate even for the real mouth-breathers among his fans who haven’t already come to that obvious assessment.
We can only hope.