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  • Writer's pictureSimone Ellin

Do We Even Have to Say This?

Mocking people with disabilities is beyond reprehensible! Yet, here we are in 2024 and one of the presumptive nominees for president is using the other presumptive nominee's disability as a campaign strategy.

During a recent campaign speech in Georgia, former President Donald Trump, mocked his rival Joseph Biden's stuttering as his supporters laughed in response. How can behavior such as this be tolerated, much less lauded by so many Americans?

Of course, this isn't the first time that Trump has bullied Biden about his stutter. And, it's not the first time Trump has bullied people with disabilities. Most of us have seen the disgraceful footage of Trump ridiculing a reporter living with a movement disorder called arthrogryposis. Likewise, in 2018, the Atlantic reported that Trump told his staff not to include amputees in a military parade because "nobody wants to see that." That same year, Trump said the Special Olympics was "tough to watch."

Anyone who has observed Trump's behavior can bet that these are not the only instances in which Trump has bullied disabled people. And these incidents aren't only hurtful to the individuals directly involved. They hurt all people with disabilities and they send the message to Trump's millions of followers, that bullying disabled people is acceptable. It's the last thing people with disabilities need -- especially children with disabilities who are 2-3 times more likely to be bullied than their peers. According to Stop, children who are bullied are more likely to experience "depression, anxiety, feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating habits, and loss of interest to the things they once enjoyed." Bullying may also cause "health complaints and decreased academic achievement." In rare instances, victims of bullying may harm themselves and (more rarely) others. The effects of bullying don't necessarily end when children grow up. Many adults are permanently scarred by childhood bullying.

Since Trump arrived on the political scene, studies show that bullying has increased significantly. A study released in 2019 found a link between voter preference for Trump and increased bullying in schools. While this study was conducted some years ago, Trump's bullying behaviors have only gotten worse as he's become more desperate. When will his supporters say, enough is enough?

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