— -- Donald Trump responded to critics who accused him of imitating the mannerisms of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski in a lengthy statement he tweeted on Thanksgiving day.
“I have no idea who this reporter, Serge [Kovaleski] is, what he looks like or his level of intelligence,” the statement began.
On Thursday, Trump denied that he mocked Kovaleski in a speech he gave Tuesday in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Associated Press reported.
Trump said in the statement that he was merely mocking Kovaleski’s journalism credentials for attempting to shy away from the Washington Post piece he wrote on Sept. 18, 2001 that alleges Muslims were celebrating the attack on the World Trade Center with “tailgate-style parties on rooftops” across the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J.
Trump took issue with the statement Kovaleski recently made when he said he did not remember anyone alleging the celebrations, the Associated Press reported.
“I merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago,” Trump wrote in the statement.
During Tuesday’s speech, Trump said,"Poor guy, you oughta see this guy," and made a gesture as if imitating Kovaleski's movements, the Associated Press reported.
Kovaelski suffers from a congenial condition that affects joint movement, according to the Associated Press.
“I would definitely not say anything about his appearance,” Trump wrote. “ I have tremendous respect for people who are physically challenged and have spent tens of millions of dollars throughout buildings all over the world on making them handicapped accessible and ADA (Americans Disability Act) compliant.”
A statement also read that Trump demands an apology from the New York Times and accused Kovaleski of using his disability as a “grandstand,” adding that he should “get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”
The Times said in a statement Wednesday: “We’re outraged that he would ridicule the physical appearance of one of our reporters.”
Kovaleski told the Times Thursday that he met Trump in the late 80s and said he spoke with him "around a dozen times."
He denied to the Times that he was trying to back off of his reporting.
Both Kovaleski and the Times referred ABC News to their prior statements.