The 2017 Hollywood award season got going with last night’s Golden Globes. These awards are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association after a period of intense lobbying by Hollywood studios.
Mostly it seemed like a very nice party for an industry that loves to give itself awards. As per usual, some Hollywood elites took their time in the spotlight to disparage others, such as Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and Republicans in general.
Hugh Laurie, who won “best supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV movie” for his role in AMC’s “The Night Manager” joked that it was going to be the last year these awards were presented. “I don’t mean to be gloomy, it’s just that it has the words ‘Hollywood,’ ‘Foreign,’ and ‘Press’ in the title. I also think to some Republicans even the word ‘association’ is sketchy.” He added, “I accept this award on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere,” he said.
Edgy! Or it’s the opposite. The cliched dig on Trump is better than the out-of-nowhere broadside against Republicans. If well-heeled Hollywood stars and starlets feel the need to mock Trump, they should do that, I guess. I’m not sure how meaningful it is after eight years of unwavering devotion for the current president, but Hollywood is going to do what Hollywood does.
Besides, Hollywood went hard for Hillary Clinton. Time reported in September:
Members of the cast of The West Wing, which went off the air in 2006, will campaign together in Ohio this weekend, while Scandal stars Bellamy Young and Tony Goldwyn have hit the trail in Virginia. Tim Daly, who plays the husband of a fictional Secretary of State on Madam Secretary, one of Clinton’s favorite shows, stumped in Ohio, as will Sally Field, who won an Oscar portraying a union organizer.
The list went on and on. But as much as people may enjoy their stories on the TV, enough Americans rejected the guidance of people who recite other people’s lines to give Trump, of all people, a victory.
So it came to pass that Meryl Streep, the high priestess of Hollywood, gave a barn burner of a sermon to her congregation. Now, federal law requires that you say Streep is the best actress who ever lived and ever will live. (I rather agree with Kate Hepburn’s critique of her, but we’re outliers.) Streep won a Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award and chose to speak on Donald Trump.
Or as CNN put it in their “breaking news” (really!) announcement: Streep “criticized President-elect Trump — without mentioning his name — for his behavior on the campaign trail and called on the press to hold him accountable.” Someone needs to let the folks at CNN know about the difference between dogs biting men and men biting dogs. A Hollywood star criticizing Trump is the opposite of breaking news.
Here were a few issues with her speech.
1. No, Meryl, Hollywood Elites Are Not Victims
Streep said, “Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”
How do I put this? UM, NO. Just no. The press and Hollywood are some of the most privileged segments of society. Whether you measure it in terms of cash money, prestige, fame, or an ability to fail year after year and get promoted, Hollywood and media elite do not get to cast themselves as victims.
2. Less Condescension Would Be Nice
Then Streep said Hollywood is “just a bunch of people from other places” noting that not everyone who works in Hollywood was born there. I bet you did not know that until Ms. Streep informed you of this salient fact that renders all criticism of smug Hollywood suddenly moot. She added, “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
As J.D. Vance, author of the hit memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” put it:
Seriously. I don’t watch football or MMA (and, to be fair, you couldn’t pay me to watch “Florence Foster Jenkins”), but this statement doesn’t even make sense. Mixed martial arts has more “outsiders and foreigners” than Hollywood does. It’s such unnecessary condescension, unless you believe all condescension is necessary to those who watch MMA instead of yet another progressive call to arms masquerading as entertainment.
3. What Is Empathy?
Streep said, “An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work. There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”
Okay, there is so much to unpack here, so buckle up. Streep tells the widely known story of Trump mocking Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a physical ailment. This was something that everyone from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton and, of course, the entire media complex was very focused on throughout 2016. But if our best empathizers want to truly empathize with people who voted differently from them, it’s time to have a little bit of a chat about this incident and the entire 2016 freakshow.
First off, Trump is horribly rude. He hits people hard, commenting on their looks, their strength, their demeanor. He mocks what they say. At its worst, this is embarrassing behavior to witness in a grown man and a sure sign that our civil discourse is suffering. At its best, he shows some much needed fight in a world where bullies are able to shut down differing opinions through control of the news cycle.
Now, Trump didn’t just do this mocking and insulting in 2016. He’s been doing this for decades. It’s his entire brand. He did this while NBC paid him millions upon millions upon many, many millions of dollars as one of their entertainers. He did this while appearing in “Zoolander,” “Sex and the City,” “Home Alone 2,” and countless other TV shows and movies. He did this while TV networks gave him unparalleled free coverage as he trounced every Republican primary opponent. So it was in this context that people saw him mocking Kovaleski. The media absolutely loved this very persona for decades … until they didn’t.
The media always claimed that Trump was mocking Kovaleski for his disability, a charge that Trump denied. While Trump’s rudeness and failure to speak well of others didn’t help his case, the fact is that the specific “flailing hands” motion that led to this charge is one that he has used on others. Here’s a video of him doing the “flailing hands” motion twice in the same rally — once to describe Kovaleski and once to describe some general — and at another rally when he went after Ted Cruz. It’s the exact same motion for Kovaleski and Cruz. Go ahead and see for yourself:
Now, I don’t particularly like any of these insults. But the characterization of the insult being specific to the reporter’s disability — as opposed to a charge that the reporter was flailing — doesn’t explain why Ted Cruz got the exact same treatment when he was accused of flailing in a debate.
Now it wasn’t that voters had a choice between a boorish insulter and a church mouse. Perhaps the most damaging thing Hillary Clinton did in her campaign — even worse than not visiting Wisconsin because she thought she didn’t need to — was her broadbrush insult of Americans being “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” For some reason Americans chose to nominate these two people, and these were our choices. All of which to say, though, that while Trump did mock Kovaleski, the charge he “imitated” a reporter’s disability is questionable.
So our chief empathizer Streep says that Trump mocked a “disabled reporter” for the purpose of making his “intended audience laugh and show their teeth.” That’s a pretty awful thing to say about your fellow Americans, if we’re all about empathizing. It’s doing the same thing Trump was doing. His flailing arm motions were always done while retelling a story so that he sounded great and others sounded stupid.
Streep skips the flailing arm motions but puts herself and her in-group on a pedestal while disparaging others and mischaracterizing their views. They didn’t laugh with Trump at the reporter so they could show their teeth at the disabled. That’s ridiculous. They laughed because they were enjoying Trump — a proven entertainer — whipping the media into a frenzy and evading their once-powerful jaws. You can disagree with Trump — vehemently, even — without inventing a false story about what his supporters enjoyed in him.
4. We Learned It by Watching You, Meryl!
Streep goes on, “And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, ’cause it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
Oh man, where to start? There is this advertisement from way back in the day where a kid is getting busted by his dad for smoking weed. “Who taught you how to do this stuff?” the dad asks. “You all right? I learned it by watching you!” the kid shouts in response. That’s all I can think of when smug, condescending, rude, insulting, mocking Hollywood tells Americans that “disrespect invites disrespect.”
You don’t say. You don’t say!
Yes! That’s exactly what it does!
Media reporter Alex Griswold wrote, “I think those who share Hollywood’s politics don’t realize how tiresome it is that being lectured at is a prerequisite to follow pop culture.” It’s not just Hollywood. It’s a political media that treated Mitt Romney — Mitt Freaking Romney! — as the second coming of Hitler. It’s a political media that has never cared to understand, much less fairly explain, conservative viewpoints, instead running after Republican politicians shouting “What about your gaffes!”
Yes, if you rudely dismiss and sneer and treat half the country like they are monsters worthy of extermination for enough decades, you should not be surprised to find them voting for Donald Trump as a weapon of last resort. If you disparage and mock and systematically dismantle all norms, tear down every traditional institution, deny objective reality, and preach that all truth is relative, you should not act like the rise of Donald Trump is such a surprise.
5. Now Is the Time for Humility
So if you’re wondering why anyone could possibly have any problem with the saintly Streep’s sermon, hopefully you can empathize with others who heard it differently. It was an unwelcome reproof from a representative of a group that doesn’t exactly have a ton of credibility. To see media elites cheer her on and push out her message was as unwelcome as everything else the media pushed in 2016. You’d think they’d learn.
But let’s revisit the best part of the speech Streep delivered. “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” We can hope that powerful Hollywood and the powerful political media will take this message to heart and stop disrespecting those who disagree with them, excommunicating as heretics any who dare differ. We can hope that they will stop bullying others into their narrow groupthink. While we’re at it, we can hope that Donald Trump stops being so rude on Twitter and elsewhere.
We can also face the reality that at this point Trump is more likely to modify his behavior than Hollywood or political media are. As individuals, however, we can and should always redouble our efforts to speak well of each other and treat each other well. We shouldn’t take our guidance from politicians or movie stars, and if we focus our efforts on improving our own virtue, perhaps future generations will have better statesmen and artists.
Donald Trump is firing back at Meryl Streep after she very publicly criticized him in front of millions of people around the world at the Golden Globe Awards.
In an explosive six-minute speech on Sunday night, Streep did not hold back as she went after Trump for mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski in November of 2015 during a campaign rally.
‘That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same,’ said Streep in front of a audience packed full of Hollywood A-listers.
‘Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.’
Trump responded to Streep’s comments on Monday by taking aim at the actress on Twitter, writing: ‘Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.’
Streep, 67, is a three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars and a record 30 Golden Globes during a career that has spanned five decades. The actress is also widely considered to be the greatest-living actor by both members of the public and those in the industry.
That talent is why Streep was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Sunday night for her ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.’
Scroll down for videos
Meryl Streep, the Cecil B. DeMille honoree, used her Golden Globes acceptance speech on Sunday night to publicly slam Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter
Trump hit back by describing Streep as ‘one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood’
Golden Globes: Meryl Streep condemns Donald Trump’s behaviour
Trump also called Streep a ‘Hillary flunky who lost big’ on Monday morning.
The actress was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter throughout the campaign and even introduced the presidential nominee when she appeared via video feed from her home in New York on the second night of the Democratic National Convention over the summer.
That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
-Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech
Streep is also fond of the Obamas as well, and was one of the few guests who made the cut for the couple’s final White House party on Friday night.
The actress was so intent on attending that she flew to Washington DC from Los Angeles just after Carrie Fisher’s memorial on Thursday afternoon to attend the event.
Streep, who played the character Fisher based on herself in the 1990 film adaptation of the Star Wars actress’ semi-autobiographical tale Postcards from the Edge, delivered the eulogy at the private memorial before singing her friend’s favorite song, ‘Happy Days are Here Again.’
And she was once again in the air right after the Obamas party on Friday, which was still going strong at 4am on Saturday according to guests, heading back to Los Angeles for the Golden Globes on Sunday.
Trump also used his early-morning Twitter rant to once again claim that he had not been mocking Kovaleski during the 2015 rally Streep spoke about on Sunday night.
‘For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!’ wrote Trump.
The president-elect also said in a statement earlier on Monday: ‘I was never mocking anyone. I was calling into question a reporter who had gotten nervous because he had changed his story.
‘People keep saying I intended to mock the reporter’s disability, as if Meryl Streep and others could read my mind, and I did no such thing.’
He added: ‘And remember, Meryl Streep introduced Hillary Clinton at her convention, and a lot of these people supported Hillary.’
Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway also went after Streep while appearing on Fox and Friends Monday morning.
‘My initial reaction is I’m glad Meryl Streep has such a passion for the disabled because I didn’t hear her weigh in and I didn’t hear her use her platform last night to give a shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who last week was tortured live on Facebook for half an hour,’ said Conway.
She then made a point of noting that it was ‘four African-American adults’ that were ‘screaming anti-Trump expletives’ who carried out the horrifying attack in Chicago o the 18-year-old male whose name is not being released by authorities.
‘So I’d like to hear from her today, if she wants to come and continue her platform on behalf of the disabled,’ said Conway to close things out, adding that Trump has debunked the claim that he was mocking the reporter countless times in the past.
Golden girl: Streep, 67, is a three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars (l to r: Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer at the 1980 ceremony, Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice at the 1983 ceremony and Best Actress for The Iron Lady in 2014)
Speaking up: Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway (above) said she would like Streep to give a ‘shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who was tortured on Facebook for half an hour’
Trump came under fire in 2015 for mocking New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski by impersonating the journalist’s physical handicap
Trump was speaking to an audience in South Carolina back in 2015 when he began to go after Kovaleski, who reported in a Washington Post story that was published after 9/11 that authorities had ‘questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks.’
That line was being used by Trump during his campaign as evidence to support his claim that ‘thousands and thousands’ of Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey when the Twin Towers fell.
Kovaleski quickly made a point of noting however that there were not ‘thousands’ or even ‘hundreds’ of people cheering on after the terror attack, adding in a statement that he had no confirmation that there was any celebrations at all on that day.
My initial reaction is I’m glad Meryl Streep has such a passion for the disabled because I didn’t hear her weigh in and I didn’t hear her use her platform last night to give a shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who last week was tortured live on Facebook for half an hour.
-Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway
‘I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember,’ said Kovaleski.
Two days later, Trump went after the disabled reporter while appearing in South Carolina, claiming that he was changing his story now all these years later.
Kovaleski has not changed a word of his original report since he first published the story 15 years ago.
‘Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,’ Trump said at the rally before drawing his wrists up close to his chest and flailing around.
‘”Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!”‘
The move made him look similar like Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis.
Trump claimed soon after that appearance that he was not imitating the reporter, and had never even met the man so he would not have any idea about his disability.
Kovaleski responded by stating he had in fact met Trump back in the 80s while he was covering the real estate scion, and that he had even flown with him on his private airplane.
Those claims were also later supported by some of Kovaleski’s fellow reporters who recalled seeing him speak with Trump at the time, and noted that the two men were on a first name basis.
Streep dressed up as Donald Trump (above) at the annual Shakespeare in the Park gala in New York City this past June
The three-time Oscar winner and staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, was the spitting image of the Republican (above), as she donned a fat suit and painted her features orange
The Cecil B. DeMille honoree’s speech stunned the audience, leaving many teary-eyed
Meryl Streep uses speech to call out Trump for his actions
Speaking about the controversial moment, Streep said: ‘There was nothing good about it, but it did its job.
‘It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was in real life.
‘It was that moment when a person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter – someone he outranked in privilege, in power and in the capacity to fight back.
‘That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same.
‘Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.’
Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts
-Streep’s Golden Globes speech
In her speech Streep, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention last year, also called for the press to stand up to Trump and hold him to account going forward.
Streep also spoke about how the Hollywood Foreign Press and actors present were part of ‘the most vilified segments in American society right now’ – Hollywood, foreigners and the press.
‘But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,’ Streep said as she touched on her New Jersey upbringing.
She mentioned nominees seated in the room by name and recalled details of their cultural backgrounds to shine a light on Hollywood’s multicultural makeup and to build context for the rest of her speech.
‘Viola (Davis) was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn,’ she said.
‘Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem.
‘Where are their birth certificates?’ she asked.
Streep noted Viola Davis – who introduced Streep for the award – was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina before being raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island
Ryan Gosling ‘like all the nicest people’ is Canadian, Streep said. She also mentioned Dev Patel’s Kenyan heritage. He was raised in London and was nominated for a Golden Globe playing an Indian raised in Tasmania, Australia
Sarah Paulson was born in Florida and raised by a single mom in Brooklyn, Streep noted
Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland. Streep pointed out that Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy
Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio
‘The beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia.
‘Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people is Canadian. Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian, raised in Tasmania.
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.
‘Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,’ Streep said to loud applause.
Streep mentioned her late friend Carrie Fisher, who died just after Christmas, and how the actress and writer urged others to ‘take your broken heart and make it into art.’
Her speech sent Twitter into a frenzy with many of A-list stars applauding Streep.
‘There has never been anyone like Meryl Streep. I love her,’ Ellen DeGeneres wrote.
Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba wrote: ‘Meryl Streep. It’s this same level of bravery that she has offered us, freely, again and again.’
‘”When the powerful use their position to bully other, we all lose” thank you,’ Julianne Moore wrote.
MERYL STREEP’S FULL SPEECH:
Thank you, thank you. I lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this week. I’ve lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You, and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segment of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.
But who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of different places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland and she’s here nominated – for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian, raised in Tasmania.
So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing else to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts. They gave me three seconds to say that.
An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like, and there were many, many ,many powerful performances that did exactly that – breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performances this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job – it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.
It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter – someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life. This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
Okay, this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them them on the carpet for every outrage – that’s why our founders enshrine the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only asked the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing. Once, when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.
The Cecil B. DeMille honoree called the moment the president-elect mocked a disabled reporter the most stunning performance of the year
However, other social media users condemning the speech as being the exact sort of condescending attitude from the ‘elites’ that got Trump elected.
Twitter user Deplorable P Kelly posted: ‘#MerylStreep dont u get it? There r ppl out here that make less in a year than celebrities spent on their gown tonite? They need an escape.’
Fox News host Meghan McCain added: ‘This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognizing why and how – you will help him get re-elected.’
While Streep won the annual Cecille B. DeMille Award and can boast of 48 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, her career is still current.
She was nominated this year for her portrayal of a bad opera singer in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins.’
Streep was introduced by fellow actress Viola Davis, who said her husband urged her every day when she worked with her to tell Streep how much she meant to her. She was too bashful then, but not on stage on Sunday.
‘You make me proud to be an artist,’ Davis said. ‘You make me feel that what I have in me – my body, my face, my age – is enough.’
DONALD TRUMP SLAMMED FOR MOCKING DISABLED REPORTER:
Donald Trump came under fire in 2015 after he mocked investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski at a Republican rally in South Carolina
Donald Trump came under fire in 2015 after he mocked investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski at a Republican rally in South Carolina.
He was accused of impersonating the New York Times journalist’s physical handicap for what he saw as the reporter stepping away from an article he wrote on the 9/11 attacks in The Washington Post.
‘Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,’ Trump said, drawing his wrists up close to his chest and flailing around. ‘”Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!”‘
Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that has locked his right arm up against his chest in a similar position to the one Trump held.
He claimed Trump was mocking his disability, while Trump denied at the time knowing who Kovaleski was.
Kovaleski then said he was on first-name terms with Trump and had interviewed him around a dozen times over the past 30 years.
Pro-Trump website Catholics 4 Trump claimed last year that the Republican had a long history of making similar gestures while mocking other people.
They featured videos from 2016, 2015 and 2005 showing Trump doing similar – albeit shorter and less involved – impressions on several other occasions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on December 23, 2016. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin directly ordered an influence campaign to undermine the United States election and help elect Donald Trump, according to a declassified report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency were the three intelligence agencies that came to these conclusion and investigated Russia’s involvement in influencing the 2016 election.
The report is not strictly about hacking efforts, but focuses broadly on a Russian influence campaign that also includes propaganda efforts, with an emphasis on the Russian-state television network RT. There is a seven page section in the 25-page report which focuses on RT.
The three agencies have high confidence that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” The three intelligence agencies also have high confidence that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
The three agencies agree that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” But while the CIA and FBI have high confidence in this assessment, the NSA has “moderate confidence.”
The three agencies concluded that Russia believed Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election, so they changed their approach to “to focus more on undermining her future presidency.”
The agencies say that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gained access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and the email accounts of several Democratic Party officials and political figures. The report continues on to say that GRU disseminated hacked information through the persona Guccifer 2.0, the website DC Leaks and WikiLeaks. The report does not include specific information about the attribution to GRU.
The report from the ODNI heavily focus on public statements from Russian leaders or propaganda networks to back up their conclusion that Russia sought to undermine the 2016 election and Clinton’s chances of victory. For example, the report says, “Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would ‘drink champagne’ in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine.”
The intelligence agencies assess that Putin had a preference for Trump over Clinton due to several factors, including a Trump victory leading to an international coalition against the Islamic State and comments from Clinton that Putin viewed as disparaging.
Russia also gained access into state and local electoral boards in the years before the election, according to the report, but “DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”
The report used an example of RT’s most popular English language content to show how Putin sought to influence the election. “RT’s most popular video on Secretary Clinton, ‘How 100% of the Clintons’ ‘Charity’ Went to…Themselves,’ had more than 9 million views on social media platforms. RT’s most popular English language video about the President-elect, called ‘Trump Will Not Be Permitted To Win,’ featured Assange and had 2.2 million views,” the ODNI report stated.
Outside of using traditional means of propaganda, the intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used social media “trolls” to amplify negative stories about Clinton.
The report concludes that lessons from this campaign will be used in further efforts against the United States’ and it’s allies’ election processes. It also stated that information obtained by Russia in hacking efforts against US think tanks and non-government organizations could be used “for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans.”