Trump’s Health Is Now A Crucial Election Issue
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and during his time in office, Donald Trump has made ‘fitness for office’ a key talking point. While he might have left Walter Reed Medical Center, returning to the White House, because of his own actions there will be a big question mark hanging over him and whether he’s physically and mentally well enough to serve another four years as president.
Those on the political right have rushed to condemn anyone who has even hinted that Trump should not remain on the ballot, given he has contracted coronavirus. However, let’s not forget that this is a precedent that the President himself set.
When he was running against Hillary Clinton back in 2016, Trump seized on any opportunity to attempt to undermine confidence in his opponent. It first began with his attacks on her competence, calling her “unhinged” and “unbalanced”, before mocking her bout of pneumonia and arguing that it showed she was not fit enough to serve as the Commander in Chief.
Exactly 4 years ago this week, Pres. Trump mocked Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia pic.twitter.com/5xvYuwL1mg
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 5, 2020
The then-Republican nominee even ran attack ads against Clinton while she was recovering. Fast forward four years, Joe Biden showed he is more presidential than Trump could ever hope to be by taking the principled approach and, upon the announcement of the President’s diagnosis, immediately announced that all attack ads would be pulled until further notice.
Unlike the conspiracy theories that the Trump campaign tried to drum up around Clinton’s health, there are genuine concerns that doctors have about the long-term impact of coronavirus on patients, even after they’ve appeared to make a full recovery. Given the lack of transparency, together with the confusion caused by misleading or deliberately false information released by Trump’s medical team and by his staff in the White House, it’s understandable for the American people to have questions about the lasting impact of coronavirus on the President.
Early on in the pandemic, scientists began to notice that people who had been treated for coronavirus had damage to their lungs. Americans will not have been reassured by the statement made by Dr. Sean Conley, the Physician to the President, who, when asked about Trump’s chest scans, refused to answer. Conley hid behind the HIPAA legislation, claiming the need for privacy to be maintained, although this obligation could have been waived.
In any event, Conley wouldn’t say whether Trump had been diagnosed with pneumonia. We know that Trump has required supplemental oxygen on at least two occasions in the last few days; there could have been more instances. As doctors have stated, if Trump required oxygen, then his lungs are, or were, damaged. Patients in that situation can crash quickly and require hospitalization. After all, Herman Cain was reportedly “only on oxygen” before passing away on a ventilator. As people cast their ballots, they will want to be reassured that the occupant of the highest office in the country is not at similar risk.
There are also findings that indicate the virus can cause injury to numerous other organs, including the heart and the brain, as well as weakening the immune system. Concern about Trump’s mental state is nothing new. It’s been a regular feature of his time in politics, for just reason, but this is different. This time it’s not just those on the left who are sounding the alarm about whether Trump is intellectually stable enough to run the country. It’s reportedly his own family.
Despite Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, White House advisers, defending the President’s actions, Donald Trump Jr, once his father’s most ardent defender, has reportedly warned about the out of control behavior we have all seen over the last few days. Particularly, instead of following medical guidance, self-isolating, and receiving the necessary treatment to put him on the road to recovery, Trump went for a joy ride to wave at supporters, creating a spectacle and calling into question his judgment.
Trump and Secret Service agents did not follow Walter Reed safety protocols for his joy ride. pic.twitter.com/ZtIZOemVTu
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 4, 2020
Trump further raised alarm by going on a Twitter rant that, even by his standards, was more akin to an individual having a breakdown than a president speaking to the country. If, as it’s been reported, members of Trump’s own family believe that he’s “acting crazy”, why should Americans believe he has the right mental state to be president?
Beyond the damage that can occur to internal organs, there is concern that another effect can occur: chronic fatigue. Given the high stress of serving as President of the United States, the long hours and little sleep that can be required, and the need for whoever is in that office to be mentally sharp at all times, this is an area that is of deep concern. Trump’s doctors have admitted that he has suffered from fatigue.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Given the concerns about what those doctors aren’t sharing, if they are willing to reveal this, there is a chance that the reality is much more severe than stated. It also needs to be remembered that Trump is a 74-year-old male who falls into the clinical definition of being obese. These factors place him at a high risk of serious harm from coronavirus. America can’t afford to have a president who might be too exhausted to respond to crises, or who cannot handle the demands of the role.
This isn’t the first time that Americans have raised questions about Donald Trump’s medical history. Events over the last few days have just amplified those concerns. Donald Trump has an affinity for strongmen. It’s no surprise, therefore, that he seeks to present himself as being in robust health. However, his physicians during his presidency have been accused of presenting misleading information. Indeed, prior to being elected, the doctor who performed his medical exam, and claimed that he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”, told reporters that Trump had dictated that statement himself.
The current stay at Walter Reed Medical Center is not the President’s first visit to the establishment. Last year, Trump made an unannounced visit to the hospital, with the White House keeping that secret for two days, despite later claiming it was just a routine trip. If it was routine, why did they not reveal it at the outset? Why did they try to cover it up?
Perhaps it had something to do with the reports in a book by New York Times correspondent, Michael Schmidt, that claimed Vice President Mike Pence had been put on standby during the visit in case the President was incapacitated. Perhaps it had something to do with Trump’s adamant denial that he had visited the facility as a result of having “suffered a series of mini-strokes”. Should any of these reports be accurate, it would potentially put Trump at a higher risk of suffering severe effects from his battle with coronavirus, thereby risking further impairments caused by underlying health issues.
Trump appears to be wincing in pain while he breathes pic.twitter.com/YKhGhu0VN0
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) October 5, 2020
Alongside the legitimate concerns about his health, the flagrant and blatant disregard by those around Trump for the rules designed to impede the spread of the virus is extremely worrying. Further, Trump’s comments regarding his claimed recovery from coronavirus, in which he appears almost dismissive of the seriousness of the disease, displays contempt for all those who have suffered from the illness or lost loved ones.
Additionally, Trump has been provided with the very best medical care, with no restrictions on the costs of provision: Trump and his administration have denied this benefit to many millions of Americans. How hurtful it must be for ordinary Americans who have experienced the immense devastation caused by the health impacts of coronavirus to hear their president imply that the disease has been easily overcome by him due to his fortitude, when in reality the medical care Trump has received was simply not available to those ordinary Americans.
This is not about conspiracy theories. No one would want to try to discredit his candidacy by using the shameful tactics that Trump himself employed against Hillary Clinton in 2016. The President does a good enough job of discrediting himself without those on the left having to take the low ground where he so frequently resides. There are legitimate questions that any president or presidential candidate should be expected to be asked and to answer.
Those running for the White House undergo physical examinations, so the American people can know that they are up to the stress of the job and capable of fulfilling their duties. After all, since Republicans have spent numerous occasions pushing repeatedly debunked theories about Biden’s fitness for office, it’s not surprising that Americans would ask similar questions of Trump. Trump’s normal misinformation machinery can try as hard as it likes to protect his campaign, but the American people deserve answers. The President wanted ‘fitness for office’ to be a campaign issue. Now, it’s come back to bite him.