Trump: ‘We Should Take a Drug Test Prior to the Debate’

Donald Trump on Saturday suggested both presidential candidates should take a drug test before the next debate, saying that Hillary Clinton is “actually getting pumped up.”

“At the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped at the beginning, but at the end she was all ‘take me down.’ She could barely reach her car,” Trump said at a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “I think we should take a drug test. Anyway, I’m willing to do it.”

The GOP nominee compared the candidates to athletes, saying he “took down 17 senators and governors.”

“We’re like athletes, but athletes, they make them take a drug test. We should take a drug test,” he said. “I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate because I don’t know what’s going on with her.”

The final presidential debate will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday.

Trump has previously attacked the Democratic nominee’s health and stamina. This past week, Trump’s campaign released an ad arguing Clinton does not have “fortitude, strength or stamina” to lead the country.

Six days ago, Trump ally Roger Stone suggested in an interview with radio host Alex Jones that Clinton was “jacked up on something, I assume some kind of methamphetamine.”

“I don’t think she has the stamina for a campaign,” Stone said. “They managed to prop her up for one debate, she can’t even keep her full schedule because her health is so bad.”

(h/t Politico)


She’s low energy, she’s high energy, what is it?


Trump Mocks Clinton Stumble

Donald Trump mocked Hillary Clinton for stumbling during a 9/11 memorial event last month, imitating her fall that doctors chalked up to dehydration.

It’s a personal attack Republicans have warned Trump, the party’s presidential nominee, to avoid. But while he has refused to engage on the issue, even publicly wishing her well, his tone changed Saturday night after an especially heated week.

“Here’s a woman — she’s supposed to fight all these different things — and she can’t make it 15 feet to her car, give me a break,” he said during a rally in Manheim, Pa.

Trump then began to mimic Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, toppling over, stepping away from his microphone and pretending to stumble.

“She’s home resting right now, getting ready for her next speech, which is going to be 15 minutes in about two to three days. Folks, we need stamina, we need energy, we need people that are going to turn deals around,” Trump said.

Cellphone video of Clinton stumbling as aides led her to a car at a 9/11 memorial in New York City last month prompted the campaign to admit that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia, which ultimately led to dehydration.

It played into conservative theories that Clinton is not as healthy as she claims. Trump allies have long questioned Clinton’s health.

But Clinton’s staffers pushed back at those rumors by releasing more of Clinton’s health records, including a note from her doctor outlining her care.

The diagnosis led her to take a few days off from the campaign trail before returning.
Trump has regularly questioned Clinton’s stamina on the stump, and while he remained cordial in the aftermath of the September episode, wishing her well in a statement and in subsequent rallies, his allies continued to float those concerns, as well as conspiracy theories.

When Trump hit Clinton’s “stamina” once again during Monday’s presidential debate, Clinton struck back.

“As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” Clinton responded.

(h/t The Hill)


The New Birthers: Trump Pushes Hillary Clinton Health Conspiracy

From Donald Trump and his top surrogates to the right-wing media and its engine rooms of outrage in the blogosphere, Hillary Clinton’s opponents are ramping up efforts to sow doubt over the candidate’s health.

The campaign — which goes back years — has escalated to shouting over the summer, as Trump spiraled in the polls while mostly failing to connect with voters outside his base demographic. Now, as the race enters a crucial phase, there has been a growing push to fundamentally undermine Clinton’s candidacy.

Much in the way “birthers” (Trump was among the most prominent) sought similar ends by questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, the “healthers” are using junk science and conspiracy theories to argue that Clinton is suffering from a series of debilitating brain injuries.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, former New York City mayor and Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani first accused the mainstream media of hiding evidence, then encouraged doubters to “go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness.'”

There is absolutely no credible evidence to backstop any of these claims, including on the “videos” Giuliani cited. Clinton’s physician — the only person to speak on the record who has actually examined her — has repeatedly affirmed the former secretary of state’s health and fitness for the highest office in the land.

During an appearance Monday night on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Clinton called the GOP claims about her health a “wacky strategy.”

“I don’t know why they are saying this,” she said. “I think on the one hand, it is part of the wacky strategy, just say all these crazy things and maybe you can get some people to believe you.”

But for those who want to believe, the structure of the lie borders on impenetrable — baked into its “medical” assertions is the tightly held belief that the press is in cahoots with Clinton, protecting her political prospects by working overtime to hide her imagined ailment.

(h/t CNN)


The facts, though, tell a very different story. This is it.

The roots of the health conspiracy theory go back to late 2012

Days before she was first scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill about the Benghazi terror attack in December 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion after becoming dehydrated and fainting. Her appearance, scheduled for December 20, was pushed back as she recovered.

In a bit of dark irony, Clinton’s political opponents then, most notably the Republican former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, suggested that Clinton was faking it — that the secretary of state, as Bolton put it, had come down with a “diplomatic illness” in order to avoid the congressional inquiry.

In the weeks after the injury, Clinton would be hospitalized and prescribed blood thinners to dissolve a blood clot located in a vein behind her right ear. The diagnosis was made during a follow-up exam related to her concussion. The clot did not, per Clinton’s doctors, result in a stroke or any other neurological complications.

On January 23, 2013, a little more than a month after she was first slated to appear before Congress, Clinton testified at length to Senate and House committees about the Benghazi attacks.

Karl Rove helped plant the seeds in 2014

In May 2014, more than a year after Clinton left the State Department, Republican strategist Karl Rove made headlines by suggesting Clinton had suffered brain damage in 2012.

“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?” he said, according to a New York Post report. “We need to know what’s up with that.”

Rove would attempt to walk back his comments a day after they were made public, telling Fox News of the brain damage comment that he “never used that phrase.”

He also conceded that Clinton had not, as he first said, spent a month in the hospital. She was there for about three days. Politifact also slapped a “False” tag on Rove’s claim that Clinton’s prismatic glasses indicated her injuries had been worse than initially let on.

The talk would mostly die down over the next year. In July 2015, Clinton’s longtime physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, delivered her a clean bill of health.

“(Clinton) had follow-up testing in 2013, which revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion as well as total dissolution of the thrombosis,” Bardack wrote. “Mrs. Clinton also tested negative for all clotting disorders.”

The alleged ‘seizures’

The rumors have traveled with remarkable speed through the pipeline connecting small conservative and right-wing blogs to larger outlets like Breitbart, Infowars and Fox News.

First, there was the muffin shop.

During a June photo op in Washington, Clinton turned back reporters’ questions with what AP correspondent Lisa Lerer in a first person account titled “Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there,” described as “an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds.”

“After the exchange,” Lerer wrote, “(Clinton) took a few more photos, exited the shop and greeted supporters waiting outside.”

End of story? Not quite.

More than a month later, pro-Trump blogger Jim Hoft picked up the video and, on his Gateway Pundit site, ran a headline blaring, “Wow! Did Hillary Clinton Just Suffer a Seizure on Camera?” She had not, of course, as had been clear to everyone present. But the video soon went viral. Less than a week later, after Clinton delivered her convention address, he was back at it, publishing a GIF of the nominee’s amused face (there were a lot of balloons falling) under a similar title: “Wow! Media Missed This=> Did Hillary Suffer Another Seizure After Her DNC Speech?”

In the coming days and weeks, conservative media and the Trump campaign itself began to pick up the thread. Fox News host Sean Hannity, an unabashed supporter of the GOP nominee, dove in with particular gusto, gathering panels of “experts” to examine video clips of Clinton coughing and, again, batting her head at the D.C. muffin shop.
None of the physicians convened by Hannity had examined Clinton and at least one, Fox News medical correspondent Dr. David Samadi, is a urologist. When an actual neurologist, Dr. Fiona Gupta, joined the group, she mostly dismissed Hannity’s questions, saying, “It’s just so hard to speculate based on snippets (of video).”

When he pressed on (“It almost seems seizure-esque to me”), another Fox News contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist, pushed back.

“Well I’m not a neurologist,” Siegel said, “and I don’t think that necessarily looks like a seizure.”

The ‘fall’

At around the same time Hannity was hosting his panels, a blog called the American Mirror and the Drudge Report gave a boost to a photograph that had been floating around for months. Taken back in February, the image shows Clinton being helped up a flight of stairs outside a halfway house in in North Charleston, South Carolina.

“The questionable health condition of Hillary Clinton should be a major issue of the 2016 campaign,” the American Mirror post begins. “The latest evidence comes in the form of Clinton being helped up a set of stairs by multiple individuals outside what appears to be a home.”

But the Getty Images photo caption — filed months earlier — tells a very different story.

It reads: “Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slips as she walks up the stairs into the non-profit SC Strong, a 2 year residential facility that helps former felons, substance abusers, and homeless move into self-sufficiency.

The “syringe” and fake medical records

As the conspiracy theories took flight, boosted by Trump’s repeated assertions that Clinton is too chronically tired or weak to handle the White House workload, “questions” from right-wing bloggers and gadflies about Clinton’s security detail began to focus in on a single piece of equipment carried by one agent.

On Twitter and on assorted blogs, conspiracy theorists began to focus on images they believed to show, as one headline put it, “Hillary’s Handler Carrying Auto-Injector Syringe For Anti-Seizure Drug Diazepam.”

But again, this was simply not the case. Hannity broadcast the story to his millions of viewers, citing the Gateway Pundit and its sources, with no evidence of his own.

Indeed, the Secret Service has weighed in repeatedly when asked. On Monday morning, spokeswoman Nicole Mainor dismissed the report in an email to CNN.

“The item in the Detail Leader’s hand is a flashlight,” she said.

The rumors took a more serious turn around this time, when a since-deleted Twitter account called @HillsMedRecords shared what purported to be leaked medical record showing Clinton having been diagnosed with early-onset dementia., a fact-checking website, quickly snuffed them out and Clinton’s doctor — whose letterhead was used in the images featuring the fake reports — put out a statement explaining that the documents are “false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts.”

The Trump-Breitbart connection

Breitbart News has been a house organ for Trump since the early days of his run, but the union became more formal last week when the media company’s executive chairman, Steve Bannon, was hired as campaign CEO.

It has also been among the most consistent and highly trafficked peddlers of the conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton’s health. When she was slightly late returning to a debate stage in December — there had been a hold up entering the bathroom — Breitbart published a story weeks later citing “a law enforcement source with inside connections” who said Clinton “was missing from the stage due to health issues stemming from a previous brain injury.”

Trump himself has begun to allude more and more baldly to these suggestions, most notably in a pair of speeches last week when he questioned Clinton’s “mental and physical” stamina. On Friday, he tweeted: “#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!”

All this as Drudge doubled down by bannering its site with an absurd Heat Street post, titled, “MUST SEE: Photos of Hillary Clinton Propped Up on Pillows.” The images, with arrows superimposed to point out the pillows, show Clinton — fully alert, engaged, sometimes addressing large audiences — in the presence of small pillows that she sometimes placed behind her back when she was seated.

By the end of last week, at least one prominent Republican Trump supporter had heard about enough. After “Fox and Friends” played a clip of Dr. Drew Pinsky, of “Celebrity Rehab” semi-fame and HLN host, discussing his “grave concern” for Clinton, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost his patience.

“With all due respect to television doctors, when you have a doctor who has never seen the patient begin to give you a complicated, fancy-sounding analysis based on what?” Gingrich said.

“I mean, I would be very cautious and I would recommend to doctors for professional reasons to be very cautious deciding you’re going to start analyzing people.”


The sad truth is that Trump and his campaign continues to promote baseless conspiracy theories even in the face of overwhelming evidence. From a rigged election, to a link between vaccines and autism, to climate change denial, there seems to be no conspiracy theory they won’t try to push on voters who may not be informed of the facts or may be intentionally adverse to accepting new information that does not conform to their preconceived beliefs.

Trump Releases Questionable Medical Report

Donald J. Trump has released a letter from his personal physician attesting that his health is “extraordinary.”

The letter, gushing in tone and signed by Dr. Harold N. Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, was four paragraphs long and provided few specific laboratory test results. The letter made a sweeping declaration in a tone oddly similar to how Mr. Trump talks about himself.

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” Dr. Bornstein wrote in the final paragraph of the letter, which was dated Dec. 4 but not released until Monday.


The note also came 11 days after Mr. Trump, 69 and a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, vowed on Twitter to release a “full medical report” about his physical health and fitness to serve as president, which he said would “show perfection.” His pledge came after a Politico report pointed out his penchant for fatty foods, his lack of routine workouts and, until now, his refusal to release a medical report.

In releasing the letter, Mr. Trump erred by attributing the medical report to his current physician’s father, Dr. Jacob Bornstein. “I am proud to share this health report, written by the highly respected Dr. Jacob Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital.”

The note begins as an open letter, “To Whom My Concern,” apparently meaning, “To whom it may concern.” The email from Mr. Trump that contained the note said it was from his doctor, Jacob. According to an obituary, Jacob Bornstein died in 2010; the note lists Jacob Bornstein as Mr. Trump’s previous physician.

Dr. Harold Bornstein said in his letter that he had taken over his father’s practice and had cared for Mr. Trump since 1980. “Over the past 39 years, I am pleased to report that Mr. Trump had no significant medical problems,” giving a duration that suggested he had been caring for him since 1976.

Mr. Trump was a patient of the senior Dr. Bornstein. Presumably, the son had access to his father’s records to account for the four-year difference in time. It is an unusual instance in which a politician’s health has been attested to by a single physician group over such a long period of time.

A “recent complete medical examination” of Mr. Trump “showed only positive results,” the letter said. It gave few specifics about that examination but contained a number of flamboyant descriptions. For example, Dr. Bornstein said Mr. Trump’s blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were “astonishingly excellent.” Presumably, the normal blood pressure reading was without benefit of any medication to lower a higher blood pressure.

Mr. Trump has lost “at least 15 pounds” in the past 12 months. But his exact weight before and after the loss was not stated. Reporters who have covered Mr. Trump’s campaign said their impression was that he had gained weight over recent months.

Mr. Trump takes a low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams, or baby aspirin) daily as well as a statin to lower his high cholesterol, the report said. The letter did not state the levels of Mr. Trump’s cholesterol and other lipids before and after the statin therapy. Aspirin and the statin were the only drugs Dr. Bornstein said Mr. Trump was taking.

The letter said Mr. Trump did not use tobacco or alcohol products and had no history of cancer or bone or joint surgery. His only reported surgical operation was an appendectomy at age 10.

Reporters have asked Mr. Trump about his military draft status. He said he had received medical deferments from the Vietnam War because of a bone spur in his foot. When asked about it over the summer, Mr. Trump said he could not recall which foot was afflicted. Reporters who have covered Mr. Trump in recent months said they have not noticed him wincing or limping while walking.

A low prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, level of 0.15 was one of the few specific test results stated by Dr. Bornstein. The fact that the physician said Mr. Trump “has suffered no form of cancer” would exclude removal or destruction of prostate tissue as a reason for such a low PSA level. Dr. Bornstein did not indicate when the test was performed or whether it had been repeated.

For many years, doctors checked the PSA level to detect prostate cancer. But recently, some groups have recommended against routine testing, saying the choice should be discussed between patient and doctor.

Dr. Bornstein made no mention of whether Mr. Trump received a flu shot annually or whether he has received standard immunizations like those against tetanus and pneumonia.

The physician’s letter also gave a subjective appraisal of Mr. Trump’s physical strength and stamina, which were said to be “extraordinary,” but the report did not include any objective measurements to support this.

In a cover letter to Dr. Bornstein’s letter, Mr. Trump said: “I am fortunate to have been blessed with great genes — both of my parents had very long and productive lives.” He did not say his father, Fred, developed Alzheimer’s disease beginning in his late 80s. The genetics of most forms of Alzheimer’s and dementia are not known with certainty. Doctors and patients consider it prudent to be aware of such a risk and to be checked if specific signs become apparent.

The objective measures that Dr. Bornstein used in saying Mr. Trump, if elected, would be the healthiest president were unclear.

While physicians are supposed to be advocates for their patients, a number of ethicists and historians have cautioned them not to become boosters or to distort or mislead the public when discussing the medical history of a patient who is politically active.

Physicians who have served in the White House and candidates’ personal physicians have lied or distorted their patients’ medical history in the past, including the doctors of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. In interviews, recent White House physicians said they would not risk jeopardizing their reputations to hide any serious ailment affecting a president in their care.

The note from Dr. Bornstein praised Mr. Trump’s “physical strength and stamina.” Those are the specific words that Mr. Trump has used to tar Hillary Clinton, who is leading in polls for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mrs. Clinton months ago released a lengthy doctor’s note that included information about her concussion in December 2012 and her recovery.

(h/t New York Times, The Washington Post)


When the letter was first released to the public it gained a few laughes in the media and on the night-time talk shows, but was quickly forgotten as attention was redirected to a Republican debate the next day

However Trump brought renewed scrutiny on himself by harping on the idea that his 68-year-old opponent, Hillary Clinton, is not physically or mentally fit to be president. He and his surrogates have sought to make health a big issue lately, claiming the Democratic nominee lacks “stamina” and looks “sick.” Trump ally Matt Drudge seems obsessed with Clinton’s medical condition these days, and others in the conservative media have made wild diagnoses ranging from Parkinson’s disease to radiation poisoning.

It was inevitable then that journalists would return to questions about Trump’s own constitution.

CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta reported that Bornstein exaggerated his qualifications when signing the letter as a fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and a member of the gastroenterology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. In fact, Bornstein has not been an ACG fellow since 1995 and, though he does have admitting privileges at Lenox Hill, he is not on staff there.

Gupta’s report included some of the same observations chronicled last week in a blog post by Jen Gunter, a San Francisco doctor, whose piece was picked up by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, among others. Gupta appeared on various CNN programs Tuesday, revisiting various holes in the letter that were covered last year — the lack of evidence to support claims about Trump’s good health and the unprofessional writing style, most notably.

Also, the New York Times ran a front-page report that noted the letter from Trump’s physician “contained no details about his heart rate, respiratory rate, cholesterol level, past medications or family medical history.

“The doctor, Harold N. Bornstein of Manhattan, concluded that Mr. Trump, if victorious, ‘will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency’ — a claim that was widely mocked as unprovable and unscientific,” the Times added.