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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Age and Health

In Un-American: The Fake Patriotism of Donald J. Trump, I discuss the president's character.

The day before his 74th birthday, Trump was showing his age.


At CNN, Chris Cillizza points out that his attacks on others' fitness has invited scrutiny of his own:
On Monday morning, Trump sent a tweet attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, who is 77 years old, as "weak & shot." That's part of a deliberate strategy on behalf of the President who has repeatedly suggested that Biden is losing or has lost his mental capacity.
"WOW! Sleepy Joe doesn't know where he is, or what he's doing," Trump tweeted in March. "Honestly, I don't think he even knows what office he's running for!"
"Biden can't do it," Trump said in an interview last month. "He doesn't know he's alive."
And Trump did the exact same thing during the 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, particularly after she fell ill while attending a September 11 memorial service.
"She could be crazy," he said at a rally in October 2016. "She could actually be crazy."
"To defeat crime and radical Islamic terrorism in our country, to win trade in our country, you need tremendous physical and mental strength and stamina," he said in Wisconsin in August of that year. "Hillary Clinton doesn't have that strength and stamina."
This is a what's-good-for-the-goose-is-good-for-the-gander situation. If Trump can openly question the physical and mental fitness of his Democratic opponents, then when there is a moment where he looks frail, it is absolutely fair game to ask questions about his own well-being -- particularly given his age and how little we know about his medical past.
So yes, of course, the President's tentative and slow walk down a ramp is a story. Donald Trump made it one.

In 2016, he mocked Hillary Clinton's pneumonia episode, his his imitation of her gait looked exactly like his own mincing walk down the ramp.