In an attempt to clear up the idea that he’s an ableist candidate, Donald Trump is making a bigger mess. In a Thursday interview, Donald Trump used his company’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as the sole example of how he’s respectful to people with disabilities.
“I spend millions of dollars making buildings good for people that are disabled,” Trump told reporter Brian Kilmeade in a Fox & Friends interview.
This was after Trump explained why he hadn’t actually mocked a reporter with disabilities at a November campaign event — despite what it looked like. Trump said he was instead using his body language to show the act of “groveling,” not to mimic New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski’s physical disability. Trump denied Kovaleski’s claim that he had met Trump in person many times, and said he “had no idea he was disabled.”
I spend millions of dollars making buildings good for people that are disabled
To prove this point, he again pointed to the amount of money he’s spent on his chain of hotels to make them accessible (or in Trump’s words, “good”) for people with disabilities.
“Millions and millions of dollars,” Trump said. “Do you think I’d ever do a thing like that?”
This isn’t the first time Trump’s talked about his compliance with a federal law like it’s an act of charity.
In May, he told the Washington Post a similar story. “I would never say anything bad about a person that has a disability,” Trump said. “I swear to you it’s true, 100 percent true… Who would do that to [the] handicapped? I’ve spent a lot of money making buildings accessible.”
Trump also claimed he’s “given more money to the ADA” than anyone else. The ADA, however, is a law — not something you can donate money to.
Either he’s confusing this with the American Diabetes Association — which his foundation has donated to in the past — or believes this is only way he can admit he’s spent the mandatory money needed to comply with the federal law. A law that all building owners must comply with.
However, Trump hasn’t even consistently followed this federal law.
In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice found that Trump’s Taj Mahal hotel was not in compliance with a handful of mandatory ADA standards. In 2011, the hotel finally settled with the DOJ.
Other cases weren’t as cut and dry. In 2007, a quadriplegic man sued Trump International Hotel & Tower Condominium for not having ADA-compliant rooms. Only after the man sued the company did it decide to comply with federal law. And in 2005, a quadriplegic man sued Trump Productions for being disqualified from applying to Trump’s show The Apprentice because he was not in “excellent physical and mental health.” Arguing this requirement violated the ADA, the man convinced the company to change the application wording — but it never admitted to any wrongdoing.
Trump’s Thursday statement comes amidst a Democratic National Convention that’s been called “the most accessible convention the DNC has ever produced,” and has prominently featured speakers with disabilities and discussions on disability rights.