Fox News made its best effort to pretend that Donald Trump didn’t mock a disabled New York Times reporter, didn’t lie when he said he didn’t know a reporter he’s met many times is disabled and didn’t do it in order to cover up his larger lie about seeing “thousands” of Muslims cheering in Jersey City on 9/11. UPDATED
As I wrote yesterday, Trump has been caught lying about seeing “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the destruction of The World Trade Center on 9/11. Part of the debunking came via disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski who now works for the New York Times.
In response, Trump mocked the reporter, saying, “Now the poor guy, you’ve gotta see this guy,” and then Trump started imitating him. You can watch it below.
But instead of playing the clip for the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers, Fox’s totally “fair and balanced” panel of four conservatives and one liberal just quoted Trump saying he had “no idea” who Kovaleski is, “what he looks like or his level of intelligence. I don’t know if he is J.J. Watt or Muhammad Ali in his prime — or somebody of less athletic or physical ability.”
That’s almost certainly another lie because Kovaleski has also covered Trump frequently and said he was on a first-name basis with Trump.
But conservative Andrea Tantaros went along with pretending that Trump’s attack was a matter of debate. “This is a tough one for me because my younger brother was disabled and when people make fun of the disabled I become furious, furious. …So if that’s what he was doing, it is despicable. And there is no excuse for it. Now, he says he didn’t know the reporter was disabled.”
Cohost Harris Faulkner didn’t let a racist comment from a colleague stop her from doing her Fox News duty of defending bigoted Trump for her network. “Exactly,” Faulkner said supportively.
Tantaros, however, soon moved on to suggest that Trump was justified in attacking Kovaleski, just not in this way: “The argument should be that this guy wrote a hit job story and doesn’t have credibility and then denied really writing the story. That’s the issue at hand,” Tantaros said.
Actually the issue at hand is Trump’s credibility as well as his character. But not one person, not even liberal Julie Roginsky challenged that statement.
Nor Tantaros’ next comment: “For me the disability is that he’s a liberal,” Tantaros “joked.” “That’s the biggest issue that I would criticize him on.” And maybe urge him to punch 'em in the face, eh?
Faulkner had some more supportive words for Trump as she suggested this is just a little dustup that good political skills will soon leave behind. “How does he get beyond this? Because it seems like Donald Trump can have a misstep every now and then and he always …not just gets up, gets up stronger,” Faulkner asked panelist Katherine Timpf.
To her credit, Timpf was not exactly laudatory of Trump. “He doesn’t have to do anything. He did what he always does. He doesn’t just not apologize, he goes on the offensive and he says, ‘How dare you make this up? You need to apologize to me.’ Every single time. He has a delusional level of faith in himself, which honestly, it must be fun, right? To think that you’ve never ever made a mistake?”
So Faulkner turned to the show’s #OneLuckyGuy, Dr. Manny Alvarez. “Dr. Manny, I know you love Donald Trump,” Faulkner said chummily.
Alvarez was all about helping out Trump:
ALVAREZ: I think this is a misstep and I’m gonna call it that. I’m assuming that Donald Trump would not have the kind of a character that would make fun of somebody who is disabled ‘cause that is despicable. …He sometimes just does things without thinking and he gets caught in the moment and unfortunately all of this controversy is taking away from the story and what was the story? Was he accurate in saying that there were people in roofs in Jersey City celebrating the fall of the towers? And that story has some truth to it. Maybe not to the degree that he initially expressed it but those are facts that should be talked about. …With this misstep, I think, we lost sight of the story.
Roginsky gave Trump a pass about 9/11 but she delivered a great smackdown nonetheless:
ROGINSKY: First of all, he seems to not know who this reporter is but mocked him in exactly the same way that this reporter has a disability. …By sheer coincidence, he did the exact same hand movements this reporter happens to have as a disability. Secondly, it’s not the first time. He mocked our own Charles Krauthammer, as you recall, when Charles Krauthammer was saying things to him that he didn’t consider to be kind and he mocked Charles Krauthammer’s disability. It’s not the first time. This is a reprehensible human being. I’m not even talking as a political candidate any more. If he were a Democrat, I’d say the same thing. You do not mock the disabled and it’s not the first time, he knew exactly what he was doing, it’s disgusting, he should apologize, but of course he’s not going to…
Roginsky is correct that Trump has mocked Krauthammer’s disability.
But Faulkner was more interested in suggesting it was time to beyond Trump’s lies and smears than she was in defending her own colleague. She turned back to Tantaros and asked, “You’ve done professional messaging for candidates… What would you tell him to do?”
Watch it below, from the November 27 Outnumbered.
UPDATE: This is the report by Kovaleski that set Trump off. It even more completely debunks Trump's claim to have seen thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City.