Saturday 21 April 2018

My disabled boy wasn't snubbed by president, mum tells Rowling

JK Rowling. Photo: PA
JK Rowling. Photo: PA

Nick Allen

JK Rowling has been criticised by the mother of a wheelchair-bound child after the author claimed Donald Trump, the US president, refused to shake the boy's hand.

The Harry Potter author accused Mr Trump of being a "monster of narcissism" and claimed he had "pretended not to see a child in a wheelchair as though frightened he might catch his condition". She added: "How stunning, and how horrible, that Trump cannot bring himself to shake the hand of a small boy who only wanted to touch the president."

Her comments, posted on Twitter, appeared to have been based on video footage circulating on social media from a White House press conference on July 24.

Mr Trump had gathered a group of what he called "victims of ObamaCare" as he campaigned for an overhaul of former president Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The mother of the boy, called Monty, reportedly said her son had not been stretching out his hand to touch Mr Trump, and was instead showing off a badge given to him by the Secret Service. She said: "If someone can please get a message to JK Rowling: Trump didn't snub my son and Monty wasn't even trying to shake his hand.

"He's three and hand shaking is not his thing. He was showing off his newly acquired Secret Service patch."

The White House also released longer video footage that showed the president greeting the boy.

In her lengthy attack on Mr Trump, Rowling said: "My mother used a wheelchair. I witnessed people uncomfortable around her disability, but if they had a shred of decency they got over it. So, yes, that clip of Trump looking deliberately over a disabled child's head, ignoring his outstretched hand, has touched me on the raw."

Piers Morgan, the television presenter who has engaged in feuds with Rowling on social media, called her attack on Mr Trump "disgraceful".

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