This week the Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, mocked a disabled New York Times reporter.
Serge Kovaleski has a congenital condition that affects joint movement and is a reporter who has contradicted Trump’s claims that “thousands” of Muslims were seen celebrating in New York after the 9/11 attacks.
Speaking at a rally in South Carolina on Tuesday Trump lay into Kovaleski:
“Now the poor guy. You ought to see the guy: ‘Err, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ “He’s going: ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’” He delivered these lines while waving his arms, physically imitating Kovaleski’s disability.
“The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record,” Kovaleski told the Washington Post.
It would be laughably abhorrent if it weren’t the conduct of a man who may well become the next US President.
Trump is a caricature made for satire. A billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star famous for his extravagance, his ego, a string of high-profile marriages and a predilection for being wildly offensive.
He has put his name forward as a potential presidential candidate every year since 1988 and last year, he finally committed. To say he’s been colourful is an understatement.
Trump thinks climate change is a total hoax.
In relation to beating ISIS, he proposed this solution on television in June:
“Well you bomb the hell out of them and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil they have nothing left.”
He has spoken often about his disdain for Mexican immigrants and made these comments in June.
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
In 2011 in regard to exporting goods to China he presented this solution: “Listen you m—–f——, we’re going to tax you 25 percent!” You can watch for yourself here.
Earlier this year on CNN Tonight, Trump said that political reporter Megyn Kelly is a “lightweight” who had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” in relation to an argument they’d had during a presidential debate. She had asked him why he likes to call women he doesn’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. (A question he failed to answer).
But none of the scathing commentary from that run in, or any of his run ins, keeps him up at night: negative publicity doesn’t faze him.
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a mere snapshot of Donald Trump. A candidate whose grasp on the facts is free and loose, whose version of diplomacy is crude at best and appears hard-wired to inflame and insult.
He has been consistently offensive and derogatory in his public life and his campaign has been no different. The fact that mocking a man’s disability isn’t considered an aberration of Trump’s character or conduct is telling.
‘President Trump’ seems so outlandish it’s impossible to fathom or take him seriously. But America, heed this warning, you need to take Donald Trump seriously.
Here in Australia we have experience in this realm. We elected a man widely dubbed “unelectable” to become the Prime Minister and it was worse than we could have imagined. It wasn’t remotely funny.
The warning signs were there. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating was forthright in denouncing Abbott’s leadership credentials back in 2010 where it seemed preposterous enough to barely consider.
Before he became Prime Minister Tony Abbott was prone to be offensive and divisive. He was unpredictable. He struggled to articulate a vision for Australia and lacked the leadership x-factor, the maturity and the intelligence a national head needs.
This much was clear before he was elected and it remained so for the duration of his almost-two years leading Australia.
America, be warned: as laughable and outrageous and unlikely as it seems President Trump could be your reality. Political scientists have said this week, that Trump is in with a chance. You must quash that chance while you have the chance.
Now is not the time for any democracy – let alone America – to install an unpredictable and inflammatory character in office. If Australia’s experience with Tony Abbott can teach us anything it’s this: a leopard will not change his spots on taking office.
So stop laughing and start taking Trump seriously. If not you’ll find yourselves in serious trouble.