Author J.K. Rowling issued an apology Monday after falsely accusing President Donald Trump of refusing to shake hands with a disabled boy by sharing an edited video clip on her social media account over the weekend.
The boy’s mother lashed out at Rowling, saying that the Harry Potter scribe wrongly said Trump ignored and refused to shake her disabled son’s hand during a recent meet-and-greet.
“If someone can please get a message to JK Rowling: Trump didn’t snub my son & Monty wasn’t even trying to shake his hand,” Ms. Kelly Weer wrote in a post on Facebook, slamming Rowling’s inaccurate description of a video showing her son meeting President Trump.
“1. He’s 3 and hand shaking is not his thing 2. he was showing off his newly acquired secret service patch). Thanks,” Weer wrote.
Rowling, a regular critic of the president, blasted Trump and claimed he “deliberately” ignored the boy, Monty Weer, who suffers from spina bifida.
“Trump imitated a disabled reporter. Now he pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition,” she tweeted over the weekend.
“My mother used a wheelchair. I witnessed people uncomfortable around her disability, but if they had a shred of decency they got over it,” Rowling wrote on Twitter. “So, yes, that clip of Trump looking deliberately over a disabled child’s head, ignoring his outstretched hand, has touched me on the raw.”
“That man occupies the most powerful office in the free world and his daily outrages against civilised norms are having a corrosive effect,” the author continued. “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.”
However, a White House video clearly shows President Trump bending down and graciously greeting his young fan as he approached the podium.
Rowling faced intense criticism on social media, with many users urging she delete the series of tweets that included the false claims.
British journalist Piers Morgan led the charge blasting Rowling — and Chelsea Clinton, who had retweeted Rowling and later apologized — for refusing to delete her tweets.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 30, 2017
Rowling finally deleted her tweets and apologized to the boy and his family for spreading false claims, but did not apologize to President Trump. A spokesperson for Rowling apparently refused to confirm to CNN’s Oliver Darcy whether or not the author would apologize to Trump.
“Re: my tweets about the small boy in a wheelchair whose proferred hand the president appeared to ignore in press footage,” Rowling wrote. “[M]ultiple sources have informed me that that was not a full or accurate representation of their interaction. I very clearly projected my own sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress to that boy or his family, I apologise unreservedly. These tweets will remain, but I will delete the previous ones on the subject.”
Last May, the author told an audience at the Pen America’s annual literary gala in New York that then-candidate Trump has every right to be “offensive and bigoted.”