The Paralympic Games issued a response to Donald Trump the day after he publicly stated the games were “a little tough to watch.”
Trump went off-script in a White House event on Friday meant to congratulate American athletes who had participated in the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in Pyeongchang.
“What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me,” Trump said. “And I watched—it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.”
The Paralympic Games’ official Twitter account replied to Trump’s comments Saturday morning. “Record numbers around the world are not finding @Paralympics tough to watch,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “Billions of viewers now take in the Paralympics in hundreds of countries around the world. We hope the US President continues to watch and be inspired by the Paralympics.”
Record numbers around the world are not finding @Paralympics tough to watch. Billions of viewers now take in the Paralympics in hundreds of countries around the world. We hope the US President continues to watch and be inspired by the Paralympics. https://t.co/3jhr5Fd8tT
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) April 28, 2018
A kind, almost gentle counter to a cruel jab. Many on Twitter had stronger reactions, roundly criticizing the president for turning a simple photo-op into an opportunity to insult the disabled.
TRUMP (talking about Paralympians): It’s a little tough to watch, but I watched as much as I could.
Imagine losing your legs then fighting your way to the top of a new sport only to be INSULTED by the President of the United States.pic.twitter.com/algPdZL4Sb
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) April 27, 2018
I miss the days when the Team USA White House visit didn’t include a part where the President made fun of our Paralympic team… pic.twitter.com/4QJ5B7kQ58
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) April 28, 2018
This is your president,He can’t help being hurtful….He said he got melania a lovely card ,
Because he doesn’t have time to go shopping…..With all he’s put her through….Maybe he could have missed a round of golf.
With Paralympics he was cruel but didn’t seem to know it pic.twitter.com/nb7t7pGAgZ
— Cher (@cher) April 28, 2018
My 7 year old son has Achondroplasia, the most common form of Dwarfism. He is an amazing swimmer who we hope will participate in Junior Nationals this year for the Paralympics. He isn’t “tough to watch.” He is simply a wonderful athlete.
— Full Plate Mom (@Fullplatemama) April 27, 2018
Spent my day meeting with CA’s Disability Community — some of the most inspiring and thoughtful people I’ve ever met.
Left to see our President proclaiming the Paralympics are “a little tough to watch too much of.”
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 28, 2018
.@realdonaldtrump makes a mockery of himself and his office yet again by insulting the disabled men and women of this country. The only thing tough to watch is your presidency. https://t.co/53lGvFQyIf
— Mayor Philip Levine (@MayorLevine) April 28, 2018
I love the Paralympics. They are extraordinary athletes and examples of fortitude, dedication, and hope. May we learn from them and be more like them. For the record, ‘I can’t watch enough.’ https://t.co/NnNZD3WOyP
— jayewatson (@jayewatson) April 28, 2018
Trump, who openly mocked a disabled reporter during his campaign, said today he finds the Paralympics “tough to watch.” Has there ever been a President who so openly disdained disabled people? https://t.co/YykfShQ4KW pic.twitter.com/0jVbmpbmEQ
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) April 27, 2018
Others defended Trump, positing that he was simply implying he didn’t have the time to watch too much television.
I get why this is raising eyebrows but he appears to mean that he doesn’t have too much time to watch the Olympics (which itself can be judged on the merits). https://t.co/zurHkW69VO
— Philip Bump (@pbump) April 27, 2018
So I’ve listened to this way more than I should’ve, and I *think* I’ve come to conclude he means it’s tough to watch too much because he’s so busy being president. https://t.co/ZtYl2aJSP9
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 28, 2018
Well, I’ll explain it so even a mouth-breathing idiot liberal like you can understand it:
The President watched the Paralympics, as much as he could take time out do so, but was impressed by what he saw. And he was congratulating the participants.
Hayes, you’re a moron. https://t.co/dcbJOJ5XUJ
— Clete Torres (@cletetorres) April 27, 2018
Trump was not mocking disabled people in the Paralympics when he said it’s tough to watch too much of it. He meant he doesn’t have too much time to sit and watch the Olympics.
It’s so clear that’s what he was saying. The media has sunk to a new low, yes it’s possible.#FakeNews
— Mike (@mike_Zollo) April 28, 2018
Once again media blows up an innocuous comment. Trump was saying that given that he’s the President of the United States it’s tough to find the time to watch the Paralympics. Not that it’s tough because of the material. Of course when your media is fake they change the story up! pic.twitter.com/9JFSoCA7ZP
— Joey M. (YourVoice™ America) (@JTMYVA) April 28, 2018
Many big Winter Olympic names boycotted the White House event in any case.
“I will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different,” figure skater Adam Rippon wrote on Twitter.
He later added he had “no regrets about missing this trip” after the president’s “tough to watch” comment blew up.
Olympians from the 2018 Games have been invited to go to the White House today. I will not be going. I will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different. In lieu of going to DC, I have donated to a few of my favorite causes ??♂️❤ https://t.co/qDXqswTHdF
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) April 27, 2018
Current mood: Having no regrets about missing this trip. https://t.co/xxcKxKz6NL
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) April 28, 2018