Hillary has released a full, professional medical assessment detailing that she “is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States.” Meanwhile, Trump has released a laughable letter with less medical detail than absurd hyperbole. Which did not stop the New York Times’ Patrick Healy from drawing a false equivalence between their disclosures.
The dishonest headline reads: “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Ages 68 and 70, Share Few Health Details.” And there are eight paragraphs before we get to this crucial distinction:
Mrs. Clinton issued a significantly more detailed two-page letter from her physician in July 2015 that included information about a concussion Mrs. Clinton suffered in 2012, which left her with a blood clot in her head and double vision. Her doctor, Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco, N.Y., said those symptoms were resolved within two months.
Included information about her only serious health issue. That’s more than an aside. It’s what voters need to know.
By comparison, writes Healy, “John McCain allowed some reporters to review more than 1,100 pages of his medical records.” Well, not for nothing, but most people don’t even have 1,100 pages of medical records. McCain’s medical history, however, includes “surviving a bone-crushing ejection from his Navy jet, torture during 5½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, [and] major surgery to remove a dangerous skin cancer from his face.”
He has a much more extensive medical history than Hillary has, so naturally his disclosures would also be more extensive.
So Healy’s piece is frankly dishonest. It draws comparisons – between the quality of Hillary’s and Trump’s disclosures; and between the extent of disclosures from a person who has been treated for catastrophic injury and illness and from people who haven’t – that are simply unjustifiable.
And then there is this: Hillary’s medical report from her personal physician was considered sufficient upon its release — including by the New York Times, who published the letter and whose piece covering the disclosure noted only that Hillary’s height and weight were atypically not included. That was their singular criticism.
It was only, more than a year later, when Trump and his surrogates started mainstreaming a right-wing conspiracy theory about Hillary’s health that the New York Times decided to write a piece questioning its thoroughness.
Healy and the Times had more than a year to raise their concerns about Hillary’s medical disclosures being insufficiently comprehensive. The only difference is that now Trump is engaging in a profoundly ableist and ageist campaign to raise questions about her health, because he can’t defeat her on the issues. They are doing his bidding – and referencing that his disclosure is wholly insufficient doesn’t mitigate that, especially when hers are conflated with his.
This is a huge gift to Trump, which not only legitimizes his penchant for right-wing extremism, but also confers credibility on bigoted attacks that have no place in our public discourse.