To many she’s the queen of the written word both online and off – but JK Rowling ended up eating a rather large slice of humble pie after a string of tweets in which she falsely accused Donald Trump of refusing to shake the hand of a disabled boy.
The Harry Potter author however made it pointedly clear she was apologising to the mother and family of the child concerned – and not to the President.
She wrote: “Re: my tweets about the small boy in a wheelchair whose proffered hand the president appeared to ignore in press footage.
“Multiple 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 the boy or his family, I apologise unreservedly.”
The boy’s mother was moved to correct Rowling, pointing out: “Trump didn’t snub my son & Monty wasn’t even trying to shake his hand. (1. He’s 3 and hand shaking is not his thing. 2. He was showing off his newly acquired secret service patch.)”
Indeed unedited footage of the exchange on July 24 showed Trump appearing to spend more time with Monty than other children at the White House, revealing him to lean forward to engage with him and lingering for a few moments before greeting the other children present.
Rowling had earlier complained: “Trump imitated a disabled reporter. Now he pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition.
“This monster of narcissism values only himself and his pale reflections. The disabled, minorities, transgender people, the poor, women (unless related to him by ties of blood, and therefore his creations) are treated with contempt, because they do not resemble Trump.
“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.”
Rowling is a frequent critic of Trump on Twitter, but as a passionate proponent of free speech she has defended his right to be, as she claims: “offensive and bigoted.”