Trump defends cautious walk down ramp, which raised questions about his health


In a tweet, Trump insisted the slope was “very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” though it had not rained beforehand and others were seen walking normally down the decline.

During the same event, the awkward way Trump sipped water from a glass also raised questions. Trump appeared to have difficulty lifting his right arm to his mouth, so he used his left hand to push the bottom of the glass higher.

Trump did not address the water glass episode on Twitter, defending instead the way he cautiously took to the ramp alongside West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams. He said that slipping down the ramp would have been disastrous.

“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!” he wrote.

Trump has previously been seen walking extremely carefully down stairs and slopes, including during his first days in office when he gripped then-British Prime Minister Theresa May’s hand as he was descending a gentle decline on the White House colonnade.

Trump, who turned 74 on Sunday, did not appear physically out of sorts to people he encountered at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club over the weekend, according to some who later spoke with CNN. Those people said he seemed normal and healthy.

Still, the video footage of the incidents at West Point generated further questions about the physical well-being of the oldest first-term president in history. And it throws into sharp relief the election-year issues surrounding candidates who are well into their seventies.

Earlier this month, the White House released the results of Trump’s annual physical, which showed he weighs 244 pounds, stands 6 feet 3 inches, has a blood pressure of 121/79 mmHG and a resting heart rate 63 beats per minute. His height and weight figures put him into the obese category alongside 42.4% of Americans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results came after Trump revealed he’d taken a round of a controversial drug to prevent coronavirus and questions about the circumstances of his physical exam last year.

Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed on Saturday, November 16, 2019, for a little more than two hours to undertake exams for part of the physical, a trip that was notably secretive. Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit and Trump traveled via motorcade rather than Marine One.

In the memo about Trump’s physical released earlier this month, the White House physician said Trump underwent additional tests at the White House after the initial visit to Walter Reed.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said at the time the results indicate Trump is “healthy.” A memo from the President’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, simply said “there were no findings of significance or changes to report.”

The memo of results from the President’s physician provided few other details about his physical condition, and did not specify whether Trump underwent any mental acuity tests, which he insisted upon taking during his first full year in office after questions were raised about the state of his mind.

As he wages election battle against former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump and his campaign have inserted mental health and physical stamina into the political conversation, repeatedly questioning Biden’s ardor. Trump made similar aspersions against his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton.

Some of Trump’s critics circulated video of Biden jogging and walking spryly — including up the same ramp at West Point — on Sunday after Trump drew attention to the issue with his tweet.

After Trump’s first presidential physical, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported that Trump has a common form of heart disease. Trump’s doctor at the time recommended an increase in the dose of his cholesterol-lowering medication and certain lifestyle changes. Without those changes, the President has a moderate risk of having a heart attack in the next three to five years, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In early 2019, sources close to Trump said he had stuck with some minor changes to improve his diet but had not stuck with an exercise regimen.


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