As Presidency Flatlines, Trump Increasingly Obsessed With Defending His Health
The Washington Post reports that President Donald J. Trump has in recent weeks bragged about or defended his health unprompted more than once.
- According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, in an early June White House meeting that was meant to be a general update on Trump’s reelection campaign, he brought up a 10-minute cognitive screening test he took in 2018. He claimed that he had a stellar performance, even describing specific questions he answered well, and claimed that Joe Biden would not be able to pass it.
- When asked about his controversial conduct at St. John’s on June 1 in a Wall Street Journal interview, Trump quickly segued unprompted to West Point, saying, “But I also, if you think about it, I went to West Point over the weekend.” He went on to explain that he walked slowly down a ramp after giving a commencement address at West Point because his leather-bottomed shoes were slippery on the ramp’s surface. He even offered to produce the shoes and show them to the interviewer.
- During his June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump spent fourteen minutes talking about “the ramp and the water.” He explained that the ramp was as slippery as “an ice-skating rink” but emphasized that he “ran down.” He also explained why he carefully drank a glass of water using two hands: he did not want to spill the drink on his expensive silk tie.
As he wound down, Trump said, “Anyway, that’s a long story… I’ve lived with the ramp and the water since I left West Point.”
- The Post writes, “The president has encouraged advisers to attack Biden over his mental acuity, White House officials said, but some worry that doing so too aggressively could backfire and hurt him among senior citizens.”
- And “Trump’s critics have seized on” his apparent agitation at accusations of poor health. The Lincoln Project, a Republican group that opposes Trump, has released two different advertisements that accuse Trump of being “a weak, unfit, shaky president” and of having “Sad, weak, [and] low-energy.”
- Sarah Matthews, a White House spokesperson, rejected the notion that Trump shares any of the weaknesses that he has accused Biden of having. She said, “I challenge anyone who absurdly questions this president’s health to spend one day trying to keep up with his rigorous schedule.”
Republican strategist Doug Heye said that questions of strength may be particularly challenging for Trump and his campaign because they “always put themselves into this everything is the biggest ever, the greatest ever… What we’re seeing over the past few weeks is really the issue of what gets under his skin.”