To truly diagnose the ill health of the Trump campaign, you’ve got to hear what surrogate Rudy Giuliani said yesterday on Fox News:
“An entire media empire … fails to point out several signs of illness by her. What you’ve got to do is go online. All you have to do — go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness,’ take a look at the videos for yourself.”
This smear isn’t new — Karl Rove crafted much of the Sick Old Crone spin back in 2012, when Clinton spent three days in the hospital and Rove said it was “30 days in the hospital” for treatment of “traumatic brain injury” — but now it’s metastasizing throughout the fever swamp. At least on this particular non-issue, Clinton was correct in the ’90s when she made reference to “a vast right-wing conspiracy.”
TrumpTV auditioner Sean Hannity (who said this weekend, “I never claimed to be a journalist” — he got that right) just staged a week-long “investigation” into Clinton’s health. He featured a video clip that showed Clinton shaking her head at journalists, and decided, drawing no doubt on his vast medical expertise, that shaking her head was a symptom of serious illness. Tell us, doctor: “It almost seems seizure-esque to me.”
Lisa Bardack, Clinton’s doctor of internal medicine, has repeatedly stated — verbally and in writing — that the Democratic nominee is “in excellent health” and “fit to serve,” but we know by now that fact is no match for daft belief. Here’s what the Trump allies choose to believe, and hope they can dupe voters into believing:
The National Enquirer (owned by a Trump pal) features Clinton illness lies on its front page; a Rupert Murdoch-owned website says that Clinton must be very sick because she sits with pillows (I kid you not); Fox News host Steve Doocy says her ’12 hospitalization was “a sign of brain damage”; infamous Trump flack Katrina Pierson surfaced on TV last Thursday to insist that Clinton, as evidenced by her “behavior and mannerisms,” is suffering from “dysphasia,” a neurological disorder that causes serious language deterioration. (I don’t recall seeing that symptom at work during Clinton’s convention speech.)
And we haven’t even talked about the fake medical records that are circulating on the Internet (“go online,” urged Giuliani). But we will.
In past election cycles, this kind of disinformation would’ve mostly remained within the borders of Trollville, but this year is different. This year, it’s being amplified by an actual presidential nominee, the de facto Troll-in-Chief.
Ten days ago, Trump questioned Clinton’s stamina: “She gives a short speech, then she goes home, goes to sleep.” Seven days ago, he said that in order to perform as president, “you need tremendous physical and mental strength and stamina. Hillary Clinton doesn’t have that strength and stamina.” Six days ago he said: “Importantly, she lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS.” (Note the sexism. No sick old girl can possibly match the strength of a big strong man. Who, by the way, is 16 months older than she is.)
Yeesh. If their election prospects get any worse, they’ll probably ask Ben Carson to convene a death panel to yank Hillary off her respirator.
And their prospects are indeed dire. No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio, but the newest poll shows that Clinton has expanded her lead in Ohio. Republican strategist Myra Adams writes today that “Trump will sweep Republicans off the cliff.” In fact, the Trump undertow has sunk Republican fundraising; according to newly-released federal figures, the Republican National Committee’s July ’16 money haul was 30 percent lower than July ’12; by contrast, the Democratic National Committee’s July ’16 money haul was 350 percent higher than July ’12.
When partisans get desperate, when they can’t abide factual reality or reconcile themselves to losing, they often do very sick things. Which explains why someone with a lavish imagination took the time to create those fake medical records about Clinton. They first appeared on a Twitter account that has since been deleted. The fake records even featured Dr. Bardack’s letterhead, although they misstated her title. Nevertheless, the doc supposedly stated that Clinton is suffering from “advancing subcortical vascuar dementia” and “frequent partial complex seizures” and various brain abnormalities.”
Dr. Bardack (the real one) has been compelled to point out that these diagnoses are “false, not written by me, and are not based on any medical acts.” But rest assured that the Trumpkins believe she’s just covering up. Rest assured they can find the fake records somewhere online, as Giuliani advised. It’s all in the spirit of delegitimizing a Clinton presidency before it even begins.
By the way:
On Fox News yesterday, Giuliani was asked to comment about the open letter to RNC chairman Reince Priebus — sent last week, signed (so far) by 123 Republican lawmakers and other leaders — urging the party to pull the plug on Trump. Apparently they’re not worried about Clinton’s health. Check this out, from the letter:
“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck.”
And Giuliani replied, “I’m embarrassed for the people who wrote that.”
Here’s an ill health diagnosis we can all endorse: “Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities.”