Most of you know by now that this morning, at the 9/11 memorial service in New York, Hillary Clinton had what appeared to be a fainting spell. A video of the incident shows the Democratic presidential nominee, on wobbly legs, nearly falling to the pavement, before being assisted into a van and taken to her daughter’s apartment.
Over an hour later, she was shown leaving the apartment, unassisted, and seemingly feeling better. It’s being reported that she is now heading home to Chappaqua, without her press pool.
Even if you view Clinton as a political enemy, it’s wrong to be smug or cheerful over this incident; we’re talking about a person’s health. And if you’re a supporter of hers, you shouldn’t be playing this off as if it were no big deal.
It is a big deal. Hillary Clinton is running to be the President of the United States. The state of her health is important to the office. It’s one thing to experience an occasional coughing fit (as she famously has). It’s an entirely different thing to actually lose consciousnesses (or come awfully close to it).
Many people have put forth the idea over the years that all presidential nominees should be medically evaluated by a reputable, independent source — perhaps the same doctor, with the results then reported to the public. Right now, that isn’t quite happening. There’s a lot of room for vagueness. Donald Trump’s medical report from a few months back, for example, was comical in its promotional nature. And the doctor who wrote it later admitted he’d only spent five minutes on it.
This kind of thing needs to change. The American public should know the details of their potential president’s health, without the spin and ambiguity.
As for the political optics…
This incident could be very bad for Hillary Clinton. It advances a narrative (as unfair as it may have previously been) put forth by Donald Trump and his supporters about her state of health. Thus, she may have some serious trouble getting past this.
I believe, however, that the smart move for Trump would be to resist the urge to hammer Clinton on this clear weakness; he can leave that up to his surrogates and cheerleaders in the conservative media.
Instead of yelling, “I told you so!” Trump should extend some compassion toward Clinton, and offer her well-wishes for a quick recovery. I guarantee that’s what his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is advising him to do right now.
If Trump were to go in that direction, he would earn some points with women voters (which he desperately needs), and probably even take the lead in this race. Conversely, if he were to play down and dirty (as he likely wants to do), Clinton could actually gain some sympathy from the electorate as a result, and even expand her lead.
We’ll have to see what happens. Regardless, I wish good health for Hillary Clinton.