This is disqualifying

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In August 2016, Bloomberg polled likely voters in the upcoming presidential election to see which of Donald Trump’s offensive statements was the most bothersome to them. It turns out that more respondents were perturbed by Trump’s mocking of a reporter’s (Serge Kovaleski) disabilities than anything else.

It is remarkable that one of Trump’s many ugly and dangerous utterances managed to rise to the top, given the stiff competition. Respondents also indicated (though by a lower number) that they were also bothered “a lot” by Trump’s criticism of a fallen soldier’s Muslim parents, his praise for Putin, his encouragement of Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton’s emails, and his refusal to commit to defending NATO allies, among other options.

Of course, over the nearly eight years that have passed since this poll, Trump has added countless more outrageous and disgusting statements to his resume across a range of topics. However, being the ableist monster that he is, Trump has continued to remind us that mocking another person’s disability is fair game for him, especially if that person is a perceived enemy.

On Saturday at a campaign event in Rome, Georgia, Trump attacked President Joe Biden following his highly regarded State of the Union address a couple of evenings prior, calling it “Crooked Joe’s angry, dark hate-filled rant.” Between that and some classic projection, labeling Biden a “threat to democracy,” Trump mocked Biden’s speech, quoting him as having said “I’m gonna bring the country tuh-tuh-tuh-together.”

It would be disturbing enough if this were just another example of Trump making fun of someone he hates by shaming them for having a possible disability. However, Biden never even said that sentence during this State of the Union address—with or without a stutter. This means Trump was stooping even lower, bending over backwards to make sure his audience knew that Biden has struggled with stuttering, as if that is disqualifying or even relevant. And Trump’s audience? They lapped it up.

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