Politics & Policy

Hillary’s Health — Let’s Talk about the Facts

(Reuters photo: Brian Snyder)
Hillary Clinton owes it to the American people to be frank about her health.

Let’s take a break for a moment from the long-distance medical diagnoses of Hillary Clinton and simply consider a few facts — all facts that we learned in the last ten days.

First, we know that Clinton informed the FBI that her 2012 concussion and blood clot had a material impact not only on her work schedule as secretary of state but also on her memory. The FBI file released after the close of the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information indicates that “she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.”

Second, just as the FBI files raised new questions about the extent of Hillary’s injuries in 2012, she suffered yet another, very public coughing fit on the campaign trail — one that Democrats immediately ascribed to “allergies.”

Third, following the coughing fit, we now know that Hillary’s doctor examined her and determined that she was suffering pneumonia. But the campaign did not inform the public that Clinton was ill.

Fourth, Hillary fell ill at a September 11 memorial service Sunday morning, left early, and appeared to stumble so badly that she had to be carried and pushed into a Secret Service van.

Fifth, despite the fact that Hillary’s team knew she was sick and knew she was suffering from pneumonia, they not only kept the press — and, therefore, the American people — in the dark when she fell ill, they set up a photo op after her collapse where she claimed that she was “feeling great.” And yet now, despite allegedly “feeling great,” she’s canceling campaign events.

POLL: Is Hillary Hiding Something about Her Health?

Taken together, these facts say nothing good about Hillary, her campaign, or the prospects for transparency in a potential Hillary Clinton White House. One of the oldest Americans ever to run for president has had repeated, significant health events, has concealed the true extent of her health problems from the American people, and continues to engage in a pattern of deception to this day. Does anyone really believe that Hillary would have admitted either to a significant health episode or a pneumonia diagnosis had cameras not caught her appearing to pass out on a perfectly temperate September day in New York?

Compounding the problem, not only will she conceal the true extent of any health problem until the facts emerge on their own, she’ll empower her allies to mock those who raise health concerns, to cast them as nothing more than crazed conspiracy theorists.

To be clear, this is a preview of how Hillary would conduct herself in office.

Anyone can, of course, find crazy things on the Internet easily enough. But the notion that a 68-year-old woman with a history of blood clots, a recent serious concussion, and obvious public discomfort (including apparently passing out at a public event) might not be fit enough to withstand the rigors of the presidency is hardly a fringe thought. Age and health weren’t fringe worries when Bob Dole or John McCain ran for president. When Ronald Reagan was campaigning for reelection in 1984 (especially after he performed poorly in his first debate), age and health dominated the public conversation.

To be clear, this is a preview of how Hillary would conduct herself in office. You can be sure that if she lies and minimizes her health challenges as a candidate, she’ll do so as president. (If past practice is any guide, she’ll lie about anything that makes her look bad.) If she falls ill, the American people risk experiencing the same thing Soviet citizens experienced — being fed the official line that their leaders simply had “colds” (or, in Hillary’s case, “allergies”) until the truth could no longer be concealed.

#related#There is but one appropriate response — transparency. Hillary Clinton owes it to the American people to be frank about her health; both candidates, in fact, owe the public a full, honest medical report. Clinton increasingly is asking us to believe an assertion that looks less credible every day — that a woman who suffered injuries severe enough to materially impair her memory and her ability to conduct her previous job and who also suffered illness severe enough to cause her to appear to collapse on a moderately warm day is totally and completely healthy enough to handle one of the world’s toughest jobs.

Hillary is fond of making assurances. It’s been only a few weeks since she assured the American people that when it came to allegations of corruption at the Clinton Foundation, “there’s smoke, but no fire.” She assured us that she takes very seriously her responsibility to handle classified information. Now she assures us that she’s healthy, that an apparent collapse is nothing to worry about. But the smoke billows once again, and mere assurances won’t clear it away.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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