In a high-stress election, Hillary Clinton gets pneumonia and stays silent. It could have been an opportunity for transparency, and to show her humanity.
What, now Hillary Clinton can’t even get sick?
The presidential candidate stumbled to her car after visiting the 9/11 Memorial on Sunday, saying she felt “overheated.”
In the process, she set conservative speculation ablaze.
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I haven’t seen Republicans show this much concern for a woman’s health in, well, ever.
After retreating to her daughter Chelsea’s apartment for 90 minutes after the stumble, Clinton came out looking better. (It probably helped that she missed “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, who called out “Why are you so sick?” and “Drop out!” A prince, that one. Just a prince.)
Only then did we learn that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday — two days before, which at this point in the campaign feels more like two weeks.
It was a bad, bad call to keep it from us. People already don’t trust Clinton, most recently because of her use of private email while secretary of state. Everyone has their own reason.
Had Clinton announced her illness immediately, it would have done two needed jobs: staved off the stench of secrecy, and shown that she is human.
I suspect she didn’t say anything because, well, that’s what women do. They power through. They don’t want to make a big deal. They just keep going, especially when you’re only 3 percentage points ahead in the polls and you’re just weeks from Election Day.
Women deal with this sort of thing every day, but on a much smaller scale.
Just last week, a Facebook-based video called “The Man Cold” went viral. It shows a nondescript lump of a man in bed, rolling and moaning, and then his wife standing at the bedroom door, responding to his requests and laments.
She’s doing laundry, vacuuming and caring for the kids — all with the same cold he gave her. She keeps going, while he’s convinced he has Ebola, gangrene. You name it.
The clip got 19 million views. Why? Because it was spot-on.
So no wonder Clinton was out there in 80-degree New York weather — in a pantsuit, no less — fighting off a bug that’s run through her staff. They can rest. She cannot.
As the first woman to be nominated for the highest office in the land, she has had to climb more mountains than Sir Edmund Hillary before the country considered her worthy. Yale Law. First lady. U.S. senator. Secretary of state.
Even in that job, Clinton pushed herself to exhaustion. She once called herself the governmental equivalent of George Clooney in “Up in the Air,” traveling 956,733 miles and visiting 112 countries in four years. Her predecessor Madeleine Albright only made it to 98.
Her opponent, Donald Trump, has never held office, and won his party’s nomination with real estate, golf clubs and reality TV.
I don’t know why we expect so much more of Clinton than we do Trump, why we see her stumble and instead of worry, speculate.
Or why we were seemingly fine with Trump’s physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, releasing a letter that read like it was dictated by the candidate himself:
His lab results? “Astonishingly excellent.” His physical strength and stamina? “Extraordinary.”
Now, with this stumble, both candidates have pledged to release more about their health.
It is personal information, yes. But any glimpse into Clinton’s humanity — her vulnerabilities — can only help her build trust, garner compassion and show us how hard she’s been working to reach standards few men have been expected to meet.