Hillary Clinton returns to the campaign trail by addressing a rally in North Carolina, armed with a letter from her doctor that says the Democratic nominee is “healthy and fit to serve as president of the United States”, notwithstanding her recent bout of pneumonia.
The two-page note details her illness - the impact of which was captured on video by a bystander as an unsteady Clinton was hoisted into a van after she abruptly left a 9/11 memorial service - the medication and her health in general.
Donald Trump, who has come under pressure to also disclose more about his health as a result of his rival’s health situation, released a similar note from his doctor to The Washington Post, which called the Republican nominee overweight and said he takes a cholesterol lowering drug and low-dose aspirin. Otherwise, he is in “excellent physical health”.
Trump’s note is expected to be made public on a popular TV health show that airs on Thursday. Trump produced it unexpectedly during the recording of the show on Wednesday, after his campaign had said he wouldn’t, and he gave it to the host, who was seen taking a long look at it in promotional clips.
The health of the two nominees had been an issue before Clinton’s illness forced it centrestage because of their age. If elected, Clinton, who is 68, will be only the second oldest individual to make it to the White House after Ronald Reagan, who was 69. And Trump, at 70, will be the oldest.
They have been certified as fit and healthy by their doctors - in hyperbolic terms by Trump’s - but they have been under pressure to disclose more. Clinton’s first medical note, released by her campaign in January 2015, was a little longer, at two pages, than Trump’s four paragraphs issued last December.
“Health is an important issue for any candidate, but it’s especially true with two candidates who would be governing in their 70s,” David Gergen, who worked in Bill Clinton’s White House and has served three Republican presidents, told The Wall Street Journal.
“We need to make health records part of the standard. The standard is you release them and if you don’t, voters can assume that you’re hiding something,” he added.
There are calls for the two nominees to match the more than 1,000 pages of medical records released by Senator John McCain, a Republican, when he ran for president in 2008 — he was 71 then, and there were widespread concerns about his age.
Trump hasn’t had any health scares like Clinton’s and likes to boast he is in better condition. He has called Clinton low on stamina and insinuated, fanning unfounded right wing conspiracies, that she could be in worse health than is known. After keeping quiet about her latest health scare, Trump asked supporters on Wednesday, “I don’t know folks, do you think Hillary could stand up here for an hour?”