It was really only a matter of time before Donald Trump shed the guise of concerned statesman and returned to form by mocking Hillary Clinton for her pneumonia-related fainting spell last weekend. It’s only really remarkable that the Republican presidential nominee lasted as long as he did.
When a dehydrated Clinton became overheated and needed help reaching her car over the weekend at an outdoor event commemorating the 9/11 attacks, Trump was initially silent, and then mostly limited his comments on her health to statements suggesting he wished his rival a speedy recovery and a quick return to the campaign trail.
It was, in truth, a surprising show of finesse from the usually unsubtle Trump campaign. By getting out of the way and allowing the story to be about Clinton rather than about Trump’s reaction, the story bedeviled the Democrat and her campaign staff for several days.
By Wednesday night, though, after Clinton announced she'd return to campaigning the next day, Trump could no longer restrain himself. At an indoor rally in Canton, Ohio, the GOP nominee began talking about the rigors of the campaign trail, and about the temperature of the room where the rally was taking place.
“It is hot, and it's always hot when I perform because the crowds are so big,” Trump said. “These rooms were not designed for this kind of a crowd.” He continued, “I don't know folks — you think Hillary would be able to stand up here for an hour and do this? I don't know. I don't know. I don't think so. I don't think so.”
The comment was a clear reference to Clinton’s fainting episode over the weekend, but just in case anybody missed it, Trump later added, “In all fairness, she’s lying in bed getting better and we want her better, we want her back on the trail, right?”
The image of Clinton “lying in bed” is of a piece with the regular attacks Trump leveled at his Democratic rival prior to last weekend. He has regularly claimed, despite a complete lack of evidence, that she takes lengthy breaks from the campaign trail because of a lack of “stamina.”
The comments came hours after Trump apparently disclosed details about his own health to the controversial television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz during the taping of an episode of the surgeon’s television program that is scheduled to air today.
After conflicting statements from his campaign staff about whether or not he would provide details about his health, the 70-year-old junk food candidate produced what he said was a letter from his personal physician and a sheet of test results from Lenox Hill Hospital during the taping of the broadcast.
The full details of what Trump revealed to Oz were unclear Thursday morning, but in an interview on Fox and Friends, Trump claimed that at 6'3" he weighs only 236 pounds. In a clip from the interview with Oz, Trump discussed the rigors of the campaign trail and said, “I feel as good today as I did when I was 30.”
Also on Wednesday, Clinton released a new letter from her personal doctor recounting the treatment of a minor bacterial pneumonia infection that was diagnosed last week. In the letter, Dr. Lisa Barnack said that an earlier opinion pronouncing Clinton healthy and able to serve as president had not changed.
“My overall impression is that Mrs. Clinton has remained healthy and has not developed new medical conditions this year other than a sinus and ear infection and her recently diagnosed pneumonia,” she said. “She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest. She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as President of the United States.”