Diagnosed With Pneumonia, Clinton Falls Ill at 9/11 Ceremony

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Hillary and Bill Clinton's home in Chappaqua, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Hillary and Bill Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Hillary Clinton’s personal doctor on Sunday said she was suffering from pneumonia after the Democratic presidential candidate fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial, in an episode that renewed focus on her health less than two months before the general election.

Clinton was diagnosed on Friday, but her condition only came to light several hours after a video on social media appeared to show her swaying and her knees buckling before she is helped into a motorcade as she left the memorial early Sunday.

Clinton had a medical examination when she got back to her home in Chappaqua, New York, according to a campaign aide. Her doctor, Lisa Bardack, said in a statement that she has been experiencing a cough related to allergies and that an examination on Friday showed it was pneumonia.

“She was put on antibiotics and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely,” Bardack said.

It was not yet clear whether Clinton would stick to a hectic schedule that has her traveling to California on Monday for several campaign and fundraising events.

Regardless of how much the illness curtails her campaigning, the diagnosis comes at a crucial time in the White House race against Republican rival Donald Trump. The first of three debates is on Sept. 26 and the election is on Nov. 8.

The 68-year-old Clinton abruptly departed the high-profile, broadcast event at Ground Zero and was taken to her daughter Chelsea’s home in Manhattan. She emerged around two hours later on a warm and muggy morning, wearing sunglasses and telling reporters that she was “feeling great.”

The video that showed her swaying and buckling with aides holding her up came from an unverified Twitter account under the name Zdenek Gazda, who did not respond to a request for comment.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the authenticity of the video.

Political strategists said the campaign should confront the health issue head-on to tamp down any concerns, particularly as Republican rival Donald Trump and some of his high-profile supporters have repeatedly argued that she lacked the “stamina” to battle adversaries abroad.

For Bud Jackson, a Virginia-based Democratic strategist, the statement from the doctor was a good start.

“I think they did the right thing. They had her examined and put out a statement. It means less speculation,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Sunday’s incident will be “instructive” for the campaign and should encourage more transparency from the Clinton camp about her health. It is in their best interest to disclose anything in the future, he said, rather than have it leaked or exposed via another episode like Sunday’s.

As the solemn ceremony began at the site of the World Trade Center that was attacked by two hijacked airliners 15 years ago, there was patchy sunlight, with temperatures at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But the high humidity early into the ceremony caused it to feel much hotter in the crowd at times.

Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis follows a wave of conservative conspiracy theories that circulated in recent weeks suggesting that Clinton’s coughing was a sign of deeper problems.

Clinton’s speech at a campaign rally earlier this month in Cleveland was interrupted by a coughing spell. During the speech, she quipped, “Every time I think about Trump I get allergic.” She then resumed her speech.