Opposition Uses Clinton’s Pneumonia as Political Fire


Lindsey Sullivan

In the midst of a heated presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s opposition has taken it upon themselves to put a new dent into Clinton’s campaign by bringing her health, and consequently, her integrity into question.

Clinton displayed signs of illness at the 9/11 memorial Saturday, where she reportedly stumbled off stage. The apparent lapse of health in the Democratic nominee was at first blamed on heat and dehydration; however, Clinton’s doctor released a statement the next day explaining that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and was currently taking antibiotics and advised to rest. Clinton’s pneumonia continues to add fuel to the fire, as critics use the sickness to wrongfully argue that she is not healthy enough to become president.

Accusing Clinton of not being fit to hold office is certainly not a new idea, as Donald Trump has constantly brought up her health throughout the election. No less than a month ago, Trump challenged Clinton to release her medical records in order to prove that she was healthy enough to potentially become president. As a result of this incident, Trump himself also released a questionable letter from his doctor, featuring typos and incorrect medical terminology among the vague description of his “good health.”

Trump’s tendency to attack Clinton for her health only provides another example of how Trump employs meaningless firepower to distract from talk on real issues. Time and time again, Trump can be seen making much ado over nothing. A prime example includes Trump’s quest to prove that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were not eligible to run for president as they were not natural-born citizens, due to being born to non-citizen parents and being born in Canada to parents who are U.S citizens, respectively.

To make the claim that catching pneumonia displays a poor bill of health or should make a candidate unfit for presidency is outlandish. Trump simply uses the idea that he is more robust and energetic for the job as hollow rhetoric against Clinton.

Most healthy people recover from pneumonia in 1-3 weeks, according to the American Lung Association and is treatable by antibiotics. Norman H. Edelman, an adviser to the American Lung Association, confirmed that her pneumonia was nothing to be worried about, and said, “At this point, there is no reason to believe that Secretary Clinton will be disabled.”

Furthermore, according to Clinton’s advisers, she made the decision to keep her pneumonia diagnosis private as she believed her sickness should not be a deal-breaker for voters, and might be taken advantage of by the opposition.

Confidentiality is typically expected with medical conditions, and is protected by HIPAA, the 1996 federal statute that protects an individual’s privacy, and solidifies Clinton’s right to not disclose medical information. As seen in the commentary following the release of Clinton’s diagnosis, her reasoning was completely correct, as Clinton’s desire for medical discretion is now being manipulated into a judge of her character and proof of dishonesty.

Anyone is susceptible to pneumonia. By using Clinton’s cough throughout last weekend as a case against her, Trump is simply attempting to distract the American public from real discussion before the rapidly approaching election day. The recent events surrounding Clinton’s medical history goes to show the nature of the election—that it is not so much about the issues of today’s world and the improvement of our country, but rather a heated party debate.