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The odd debate on candidates’ health

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, on their visits to USF prior to the focus on the candidate’s health records. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

Last week, Hillary Clinton visited a 9/11 memorial service and rushed out, feeling overheated. Videos of her collapsing and supposedly fainting surfaced on major media outlets and social media sites like Twitter. 

This sparked controversy and debate as questions of her medical well-being were once again brought about. 

It seems odd to many voters that the overall fitness of a candidate is being given much attention. After all, Franklin D. Roosevelt won four presidential elections while suffering from Polio. Granted, his use of a wheelchair was hidden from the public, but it was not exactly a well-kept secret.

John F. Kennedy suffered from illnesses for the majority of his life, and when his political opponents tried to make it an issue, the public made it obvious they weren’t seriously concerned about it. 

However, in 2016, Clinton is finding herself having to vehemently defend her brief pause on the campaign trail while she recovered from pneumonia — her health is now another obstacle in her way to the presidency. 

After Clinton’s incident at the memorial, Donald Trump took his thoughts and concerns to Fox & Friends to respond to the controversy surrounding Clintons health. 

“I hope she gets well soon,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on.” 

Critics of Trump believed he would not hesitate to strike during the controversy in order to garner support for his campaign, but they quickly realized that is not the case. 

Instead of bashing Clinton for her poor health, Trump took the high road by wishing her well and a speedy recovery — a good move on Trump’s behalf, as attacking her at her time of vulnerability would have undoubtedly backfired on him.

Trump continued this trend of neutrality on the subject of Clinton’s health status in another interview with Fox News.

“I just don’t want to get involved with it,” Trump said. “I just hope she’s going to be fine and she’ll continue onward.” 

However, Trump did not let what may become a crucial issue entirely slip by. He wasted no time in flamboyantly promising to release his own medical records moments after Clinton’s health blew up on the internet. 

Volunteering to sit down with Dr. Oz and comb through his records was a tactical strategy by Trump, as concern for the medical well-being of the presidential candidates has exploded recently.

During the interview with Dr. Oz, which aired Thursday, Trump released a statement on his now-finished medical report. He then spoke about his weight loss goals and how he has managed to lower his cholesterol by taking the drug Statin. 

His ostensibly good health gives him an advantage over Clinton, and in such a tight race, every advantage counts.

Though Trump did not comment negatively about Clinton’s health, some in the Democratic Party began to harass the Republican candidate about his fitness.  

“He’s 70 years old, he’s not slim and trim,” Harry Reid, Senate Democratic leader of Nevada, said. “He brags about eating fast food every day.”

Unfortunately, this was a bad move from the Democrats. A select few chose to bash Trump’s health just from judgment and assumptions, which backfired on the party once Trump’s medical report came back without any major issues. 

This election is shaping up to be one of the most wild, unpredictable, downright entertaining races in our history. A loud figure like Trump and a political titan like Clinton inarguably make this election one to remember. 

This may be the first election to focus on the issue of health with such vigor but it surely won’t be the last. While presidents have been able to run for office before regardless of their doctor’s reports, it seems that may quickly and permanently change. 


Jose-Andres Leon-Gil is a freshman majoring in mass communications.