Donald Trump’s medical condition was the subject of speculation in the United States on Sunday, his 74th birthday, after he appeared to be showing signs of fatigue the day before at a ceremony.
The American president had wanted, despite the pandemic, to come to greet Saturday the promotion 2020 of the prestigious military academy of West Point, near New York.
Accused of trying to politicize the military in the face of anti-racism protests across the country in recent weeks, he delivered an unusually consensual speech to him who likes to deviate from his prompter.
Invited to leave the stage after addressing the future elites of the American army, he seemed to have some difficulties on the access ramp, descended with cautious steps.
American media have also noted that he needed both hands, in the middle of the same speech, to bring a glass of water to his lips – which he has done several times in the past -, and that he had struggled to correctly pronounce the name of General Douglas MacArthur, hero of the Second World War.
Donald Trump himself took charge late Saturday evening on Twitter to answer questions about his physical condition.
The access ramp to the West Point stage was “very long and steep, had no railing and, most importantly, was very slippery,” he said.
He claims to have been extra careful not to fall and to give the media the opportunity to make fun of him. And points out that he hurtled “running” the last three meters of the ramp.
Oldest president in history
The subject is all the more slippery since the 74-year-old Republican billionaire made his health a campaign argument against his future Democratic presidential opponent in November, Joe Biden, 77 years old.
Donald Trump regularly enjoys attacking the former vice president, known for his blunders and memory lapses, which he calls “the sleeping Joe”, on his physical and mental form.
But this taunting does not prevent speculation about his own health, particularly when he made a mysterious visit to a military hospital near Washington in November, outside of the usual schedule.
Rumors have it that it was triggered by pains in the chest, which can be the sign of heart problems in particular.
But the White House said its routine annual checkup was anticipated due to a particularly busy 2020 schedule, and its doctor said it had not been “diagnosed or treated for urgent or acute problems”.
During a tribute ceremony in late May at the Arlington military cemetery for fallen soldiers, Donald Trump had already raised some doubts when he appeared to have trouble staying still.
The 70-year-old, 220-day-old when he took office in January 2017, the oldest president in US history – ahead of Ronald Reagan – has also recently sparked controversy, saying he received for two weeks treatment with hydroxychloroquine, as a preventive measure against the new coronavirus.
According to the White House doctor, the former New York businessman did not experience any of the side effects caused by this antimalarial whose efficacy against COVID-19 has never been rigorously demonstrated.
“The data indicates that the president remains in good health,” concluded Dr. Sean Conley in early June in a brief report, specifying that the septuagenarian, a lover of golf and fast food, weighed 110 kg for 1.90 m.