WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton is heading into the roughest patch of her campaign against Donald Trump.
With 57 days until the election and the first debate in two weeks, Clinton is giving Trump two big openings: her self-inflicted wound, in calling “half” of Trump’s supporters “deplorables.” That was in her control.
And this was out of her hands: Clinton got sick on Sunday, forcing her campaign to admit she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.
Clinton’s health issues pushed aside on Sunday more fallout from Clinton’s major gaffe, which will live in political history along with Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” blunder in 2012, and Barack Obama’s 2008 goof, saying “bitter” people in Pennsylvania “cling to guns or religion.”
Clinton left the 9/11 memorial in New York City when she was feeling ill, and a video showed her wobbling as she was getting into a van.
Clinton’s physician Lisa Bardack said in a statement, “Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”
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Late Sunday, Clinton’s campaign said she canceled a California trip, which had been set for Monday and Tuesday.
Clinton’s health had already been the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories bouncing around social media, getting spikes in traffic when she has coughing fits.
A top Trump adviser, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, fueled this stuff, and with this was before Sunday, by suggesting in interviews and on Twitter — with no evidence — that Clinton had health issues.
“I think Hillary’s tired . . . she looks sick,” Giuliani said in an Aug. 22 tweet.
Trump, 70, likes to taunt Clinton, 68, about her energy and fitness — even as he has refused to make public details about his health.
The political problem facing Clinton is that Trump and his allies will never stop raising questions about her health.
This is just like Trump’s birtherism. Giuliani recently said Trump now believes Obama was born in the U.S. — but Trump himself has not said it, so we’ll see.
Birthers always have a ‘yes, but’ they use as an excuse not to accept facts.
That’s why this health issue is going to be difficult for Clinton and can’t fester.
That said, there are legitimate questions about the health of Trump and Clinton. Clinton has made public much more information about her health than Trump has offered.
She released a two-page letter on July 28, 2015 from Bardack, her internist, who took note a concussion Clinton suffered in December 2012. The letter included Clinton’s lab test results and medications she is taking.
Trump released a medical letter that was a joke — so said the author, gastroenterologist Dr. Harold Bornstein in a NBC interview. He said he took “five minutes” to write it.
Trump needs to make public a serious medical evaluation. Clinton now needs to provide a health update.
This is not to persuade Clinton health skeptics. No medical facts will ever satisfy them. Anyway, they will never be for her. It’s other voters Clinton needs.
She is looking for disgruntled Republicans and swing suburban female voters.
Clinton can make public the results of X-rays, CT scans, bronchoscopies. She can make her doctors available for briefings.
The health conspiracists won’t care about medical findings.
But Clinton is not talking at them, though on Friday she was talking about them — using boneheaded shorthand.
Last Friday, Clinton was at a fundraiser aimed at the LGBT community, introducing Barbra Streisand, when she said, “to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that.”
“And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. “
She noted that in the “other basket” there “are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”
Clinton was trying to explain the Trump phenomena. She was clumsy, making an unforced error for Trump to exploit.Tweets by @lynnsweet