Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has apologised after falsely accusing US President Donald Trump of failing to shake the hand of a young boy in a wheelchair.
On Monday the author tweeted about a meeting between Trump and a group of children, saying it was “stunning” and “horrible” that he “cannot bring himself to shake the hand of a small boy”. The first of these messages racked up 75,000 retweets by the end of Monday.
She had tweeted: “Trump imitated a disabled reporter. Now he pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he may catch his condition.
“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.
“That man occupies the most powerful office in the free world and his daily outrages against civilised norms are having a corrosive effect
“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, it soon emerged that Trump did greet the boy, as seen in this video posted by The White House (skip to the 2.15 mark).
This led to a series of messages to Rowling, including from Brian Weer, the child’s uncle:
Boy in wheelchair is my nephew, and Trump spoke with him for a long time NOT captured in video. He was very caring! How dare you!— Brian Weer (@weermarried) July 30, 2017
And not one to miss out on a Twitter brawl with Rowling, Piers Morgan had his say:
JK Rowling, in 8 tweets, raged that Trump snubbed a disabled boy.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 30, 2017
This is Trump greeting that boy.
Why won't she delete & apologise? pic.twitter.com/c61cqRoBzE
Now Rowling has deleted those tweets, as well as posting a full apology to the boy and his family.
Re: my tweets about the small boy in a wheelchair whose proferred hand the president appeared to ignore in press footage, multiple /1— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 31, 2017
sources have informed me that that was not a full or accurate representation of their interaction. I very clearly projected my own /2— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 31, 2017
sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress /3— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 31, 2017
to that boy or his family, I apologise unreservedly. These tweets will remain, but I will delete the previous ones on the subject. /4x— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 31, 2017
However, that wasn’t enough for Morgan, who said Rowling should apologise to Trump.
BREAKING: @jk_rowling announces she will delete tweet lies about Trump & disabled boy.
Apologises to boy & his family but NOT to Trump.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 31, 2017
Will Rowling apologise to The President personally and silencio Morgan? We’re thinking it’ll take something magical to get both to happen.