Rumors surrounding Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s health have been swirling for weeks following a series of coughing fits during campaign rallies and press briefings, concerns of which were all dismissed by Clinton and her team as nothing more than another smear attack by the “vast right wing conspiracy”. However, the rumors that the coughing fits were actually a part of something larger were somewhat vindicated when Clinton managed to take the focus off of the September 11 memorial ceremony she was attending at the New World Trade Center site Sunday morning by abruptly leaving the service early due to “health concerns”.
After spending about an hour and a half at the memorial, Clinton began walking away to the street with an aide on her arm. The press pool covering Clinton was reportedly forced to stay away from the Presidential Candidate and out of view of her infamous “Scooby Doo” van as it swept her away, leaving them completely in the dark. While most of the press remained clueless, Fox News’ Rik Levanthal reported that a source in close vicinity to Clinton witnessed Clinton’s knees buckling as she appeared to faint before having to receive great assistance getting into the van.
Media sources were quick to jump to the defense of Clinton and discard Levanthal’s account, saying an accusation of such an episode taking place was unwarranted and not proven. A good while after Clinton’s departure, her campaign finally tried to shed some light on the incident and released a statement saying Clinton felt overheated and dehydrated during the event, but went to Chelsea’s apartment to regroup and had recovered just fine.
However, that narrative soon crumbled when a bystander by the name of Zdenek Gazda uploaded a video on Twitter that showed the exact series of events that Levanthal reported took place. In the video, you can see Clinton lose control of her motor skills as she tries to move towards the van, becoming seemingly comatose before having to be dragged into the vehicle by staff members and security detail surrounding her.
Later on Sunday following the release of the video, the Clinton camp came out and said she was indeed suffering from a greater health concern: pneumonia. Soon after the revelation, they also revealed Clinton was canceling her planned trip to fundraise in California this week.
But even with the release of the video and the announcement of the pneumonia, the media and many in the Clinton camp seem to be writing it off, defending the episode as a result of sickness mixed with overheating (though it was a beautiful, breezy day) and the exit into the van as being a mere “stumble”. Even CNN’s Brian Stelter took it as far as turning it into a sexism issue.
It’s a fair question to ask whether or not the campaign would have been forced to reveal the pneumonia diagnosis had it not been for the video. Hillary Clinton has not been the most transparent and scandal free candidate to ever hit the campaign trail. Though plenty of candidates have fallen ill close to election time (most notably Nixon, who lost the election after his visible illness during a televised debate against Kennedy made him appear weak and nervous), it’s important to acknowledge that the quick pivot from the Clinton campaign, going from “nothing to see here” to revealing she was diagnosed with this illness before the weekend began, was really an admittance to the fact that the initial information they fed the public was a lie.
As shown below, the Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has been outspoken in questioning the health of his opponent before the incident Sunday. He spoke out in a more tame manner during a Fox News interview this morning saying “Like you, I see what I see. The coughing fit was a week ago, so I assume that was pneumonia also,” he said. “But, I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail. And, we’ll be seeing her at the debate.”
In addition to Trump, voters have been very vocal about the issue. People on the right and left are speaking out, both in concern for the well-being of Mrs. Clinton and for whether or not this ailing woman who excessively lies is fit to run for President.
We’ll be sure to follow this story closely and update with any new revelations, diagnosis, or *cough*cover-ups*cough* that may arise.