Members of the mainstream media sounded the alarm about President Trump‘s health for what they believe were signs of declining health during his appearance at the West Point commencement ceremony.
The New York Times ran the headline, “Trump’s Halting Walk Down Ramp Raises New Health Questions.”
“Mr. Trump — who turned 74 on Sunday, the oldest a U.S. president has been in his first term — was recorded hesitantly descending the ramp one step at a time after he delivered an address to graduating cadets at the New York-based academy on Saturday. The academy’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, walked alongside him. Mr. Trump sped up slightly for the final three steps, as he got to the bottom,” Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote.
Many took to Twitter and questioned the president’s health.
“Serious question: what is going on with him? His supporters have tried so hard to get the media to question Joe Biden’s mental and physical fitness but they so often engage in projection it seems worth inquiring,” MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted.
“Your periodic reminder that we still do not know why @realDonaldTrump was suddenly taken by car to Walter Reed in November w/o notifying either hospital personnel or the local police who would normally restrict traffic to clear a path for a presidential motorcade to travel safely,” White House reporter Andrew Feinberg wrote.
Haberman and other journalists also speculated that Trump’s sip of water during his speech was also a cause for concern because he needed both hands to lift the glass to his mouth.
Trump responded to speculation about the viral ramp moment on Saturday night.
“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” Trump tweeted. “The last thing I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!
Trump’s tweet was apparently fact-checked by Haberman, who wrote “There was no evidence that the ramp was slippery, and the skies were clear during the ceremony.”
On Monday, CNN anchor John King said Trump looked “a little shaky” on the ramp. CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip pandered whether Trump was being “transparent” about his health based on the “latest incidents.”
“Repeated history of lack of transparency leads to questions of skepticism,” King responded.
NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck called the speculation about Trump’s health “unfounded conspiracy theories.”
“It was only a few years ago that they openly wondered about his ‘mental fitness’ and specifically whether he had dementia. They had no evidence at the time and they didn’t this past weekend either besides their personal desires of wanting it to be true,” Houck told Fox News. “All told, this weekend marked another case of the press wanting to have it both ways by playing amateur doctor and psychologist with the President while also denouncing any and all health questions about liberals.”
The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech similarly called the coverage “conspiratorial nonsense.”
Haberman, however, defended the coverage on Monday, saying Trump’s tweet responding to the speculation “invited” such reporting.
“We don’t know what the issue is. We don’t know just by looking at this video,” Haberman acknowledged on CNN. “It is perfectly legitimate for them to raise questions about Joe Biden’s health. He’s 77 years old. It’s also legitimate to talk about the president’s.”
Tom Elliott, founder and news editor of the media company Grabien, told Fox News that it’s “certainly fair” to question Trump’s health as he himself “makes these kinds of attacks a core part of his political warcraft,” but suggested that the media is hypocritical of “such thin gruel so triumphantly.”
“When Hillary literally collapsed on camera, the national news media tsked-tsked conservatives for even circulating the video,” Elliott recalled about Secretary Clinton’s fall at the 9/11 Memorial during the 2016 election. “Trump carefully walking down a ramp is being portrayed as proof positive he’s mentally deranged.”
Elliott added, “Had they not shown their cards in 2016, their current coverage would have a lot more credibility.”