Hillary Clinton’s campaign sought to draw a line Monday under her health scare, stating she has no medical ailments other than pneumonia and that the Democratic presidential nominee will return to campaigning as early as mid-week.
The statements came one day after Clinton, 68, fell ill at a 9/11 memorial event in New York and was seen stumbling as she was helped into her vehicle, forcing her campaign to disclose she had been diagnosed with the acute respiratory infection.
The incident — captured on amateur video — gave her rival Donald Trump, 70, a new opening to question her fitness for the nation’s highest office.
Both candidates have now pledged to release additional details on their health in the coming days, as the race for the White House heats up with eight weeks to go until Election Day.
“There’s no other undisclosed condition. The pneumonia is the extent of it,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told MSNBC.
“I expect that by the middle to the late of the week she’ll be back out there on the campaign trail,” following a scrapping of her California fundraising trip Monday and Tuesday, he said.
“If it was up to her, she would be out there today.”
In his first public comments since Clinton abruptly left Sunday’s ceremony at Ground Zero, an unusually subdued Trump offered her his wishes for a rapid recovery.
But he also suggested that the former secretary of state’s health issues were of longer standing than admitted.
“Something is going on but I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail, and we’ll be seeing her at the debate” in two weeks, the Republican candidate told Fox News.
The unexpected turn of events has turned a conservative angle of attack into a serious line of questioning about Clinton’s health and why it took two days to reveal the pneumonia diagnosis.
“Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?” asked David Axelrod, a former White House aide to Barack Obama, on Twitter.
Fallon admitted: “”I think in retrospect we could have handled it better in terms of providing more information more quickly.”
But Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri noted: “It is a fact that public knows more about HRC than any nominee in history.”
– ‘Not the first time’ –
The episode has fuelled fresh speculation and conspiracy theories on the internet, already awash with unsubstantiated rumors Clinton may have a brain tumor, Parkinson’s or dementia. #HillarysBodyDouble was trending on Twitter Monday.
The root of persistent claims about Clinton’s health lies in 2012, towards the end of her tenure as secretary of state.
A stomach virus and dehydration prompted her to faint, causing what her doctor said was a concussion. Doctors said they found a blood clot on the brain. Clinton later received the all-clear.
On Monday, Fallon assured that “there was nothing here in terms of anything that was caused by what happened in 2012.”
He also said Clinton’s team would be releasing medical records “in the next few days” in order to “further put to rest any lingering concerns about what you saw yesterday.”
The former first lady has dismissed rumors about her health, but Trump has repeatedly raised doubts about Clinton’s stamina and physical strength, and on Monday questioned her campaign’s account of the current episode.
“They say pneumonia on Friday, but she was coughing very, very badly a week ago and even before that if you remember, and this was not the first time,” he told CNBC.
Drawing a contrast, Trump told Fox he had a physical last week and would release the details once test results are back.
“I think they are going to be good. I feel great but when the numbers come in, I’ll be releasing very, very specific numbers,” said the real estate mogul, who was in Washington on Monday for the soft opening of his new hotel.
– California trip off –
Forced to cancel a California fundraising trip, Clinton was recovering at her home in Chappaqua, New York.
She “continues to feel better, but intends to remain at home today, following her doctor’s recommendation to rest,” said spokesman Nick Merrill.
“In the evening, she will phone in briefly to the event in San Francisco, which is proceeding as scheduled in her absence.”
Fallon said several senior Clinton collaborators at campaign headquarters in Brooklyn also fell ill in recent weeks, including campaign manager Robby Mook. But it was not known if that was the source of Clinton’s infection.
Clinton’s campaign statement said she “felt overheated” Sunday so she left for her daughter Chelsea’s apartment.
The campaign later released a statement from her personal doctor, Lisa Bardack, revealing that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday and was suffering from dehydration.
Trump meanwhile assailed Clinton for recently criticizing half of his supporters as being in a “basket of deplorables.”
“If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further,” Trump told supporters in Baltimore.