Ever since presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 memorial event early Sunday, and footage of her appearing to stumble or even nearly collapse as she entered a van hit the press, her health has dominated the political landscape. Soon after, reporters spotted her waving, smiling, and saying she felt great, and her campaign publicly disclosed that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Still, rampant speculation about and intense obsession with her health had crossed over from the alternative right-ring media to the mainstream. And so, on Wednesday, Clinton released more of her medical records to reassure the public that she's literally fit for the presidency — and not the ailing invalid of the (thoroughly unsubstantiated) narrative that her opponent and many of his supporters perpetuate.
Clinton, who according to ABC News said she had not disclosed her Friday diagnosis earlier because she believed she could "keep going forward and power through it," subsequently opted to take three days from campaigning to recover. Still, in the newly released medical information, Clinton's physician wrote that besides turning up mild, non-contagious bacterial pneumonia, the candidate's physical examination was "completely normal," CNN reported.
"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," Dr. Lisa Bardack wrote in a letter media outlets received Wednesday. "She is recovering well with antibiotics and rest. She continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as president of the United States."
Clinton's team released the more detailed information about her health and the factors that contributed to the 9/11 memorial incident in response to criticisms about transparency as well as relentless right-ring conspiracy theories that she has underlying medical issues that it fueled. According to the BBC, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ushered false chatter about Clinton never having recovered from a 2012 blood clot, for example, onto the campaign trail in mid-August. The outlet additionally reported that, in a speech in Ohio, Trump claimed that Clinton "lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS and all of the many adversaries we face."
These kinds of attacks distract from the substance of the campaign, as does compelling Clinton to release yet more of her health information to debunk rumors. That didn't stop Trump, though. Perhaps capitalizing on this weak spot in Clinton's rep and seeking to remedy the fact that the public actually doesn't know much about his medical history, Trump participated in a taping of The Dr. Oz Show Wednesday. The appearance won't air until Thursday, but a promo video shows Trump handing over two letters about medical tests he says were done last week.
One attendee said that the two did not talk in any detail about Trump's health. "He didn’t really answer the questions directly," attendee Carmela Villa told Politico after the taping. "He didn’t say anything specific on anything."
Previously, NBC News reported that Trump's doctor released a hyperbolic letter, which he later admitted he'd written in five minutes, that stated that, if elected, Trump would be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
All the health talk, honestly, is starting to seem like overkill. We can only hope that when Clinton recovers, and the debates begin, the candidates will be able to focus on pressing policy issues instead. There's less than two months until Election Day, and the whacky situations are likely to intensify before they recede.