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Hillary Clinton canceled a scheduled trip Monday to California. This came after Clinton left a Sept.11 ceremony Sunday in New York and then stumbled getting into her vehicle. Shortly afterward, her campaign said she has been diagnosed with pneumonia. And Donald Trump pledged to release his own medical records. Guest host A Martinez and a panel discuss the growing pressure for the presidential candidates to disclose their medical records and the possible impact the information, or lack thereof, could have on the 2016 race.
- Byron York Chief political correspondent, The Washington Examiner
- David Rothkopf CEO and editor, FP group, which publishes Foreign Policy Magazine; author of "National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear (2014). Host of Foreign Policy podcast, "The Editors Roundtable."
MR. A. MARTINEZThanks for joining is. I'm A. Martinez, co-host of Take Two on Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles. I'm sitting in for Diane Rehm. Hillary Clinton has cancelled a scheduled trip to California today. Now, this comes after Clinton left a 9/11 ceremony yesterday, and then stumbled getting into her vehicle. She's been diagnosed with pneumonia.
MR. A. MARTINEZJoining me by phone to talk about the new pressure now on presidential candidates to disclose their medical records, Byron York of The Washington Examiner and David Rothkopf of FP Group, publisher of Foreign Policy magazine. Welcome to both of you.
MR. DAVID ROTHKOPFThank you.
MR. BYRON YORKGood morning.
MARTINEZByron, good morning. Now, let's starts with you, Byron. What exactly do we know about Hillary Clinton's health at this point?
YORKWell, she's got pneumonia. I think that she's, you know, she's cancelled a fundraising trip to California, which sounds very smart. She should've taken some time off before. But I think beyond hoping that she recovers from this particular ailment, I think it has really -- what this whole episode has caused is some skepticism about how the Clinton campaign informs the public about what's going on. Remember, go back a year a week ago today, kicking off her campaign in Cleveland, she has just a terrible coughing fit.
YORKI mean, it's just painful to watch. Then, other coughing episodes, then she appears weak and then she basically collapses on Sunday at the September 11th ceremony. And the staff says, oh, she just got a little overheated, it's okay. And then, when we finally see if video of it happening by a photographer who just happened to be there, then they come out and say, well, actually she has pneumonia.
YORKAnd so, think of an alternate universe in which Hillary Clinton said, you know, I got a cold. I tried to work through it. It got worse. Now, I've got pneumonia and I need to take a couple of days and rest. I mean, would it have killed them to just say that? But they didn't.
MARTINEZNo, but it's a trip to California, after all. It's the bluest of blue states. Does she really need to go to California and get more money? It's the ATM for presidential candidates.
YORKWell, I don't think the issue is whether she needs or doesn't need to go to California or whether she needs or doesn’t need to raise more money. I think the issue is whether she can -- she should just be more open and honest about something that's -- I mean, look, everybody's had either pneumonia or had a really bad cold and just had to go to bed. They tried to work through it and they couldn't.
YORKI mean, this is not an unusual human experience. Why not just say it?
MARTINEZDavid, tick-tock, tick-tock. We're running closer and closer to November 8th. How do you see this? Could this have an impact with less than two months to go?
ROTHKOPFI doubt it's going to have an impact. I think people are looking for a story. Hillary Clinton's the most closely scrutinized human being in probably the past 25 years. She maintains a tough schedule. People sometimes get sick. She got a little bit sick. I think, you know, if it were a different person at a different time, the story would be, think she was sick and she got up and she went to the 9/11 memorial anyway because it meant so much to her.
ROTHKOPFI also think the notion that somehow transparency is an issue for the Clinton campaign when you have Donald Trump who doesn't release his tax returns even they are salient to who he is as a person, who doctored up his own doctor's letter regarding his own health, who would be the oldest person ever to become president when he became president who is, himself, overweight, who had, you know, we don't know anything about him from a health perspective.
ROTHKOPFYou know, I think this is just actually as a result of a couple of weeks of the right wing media trying to spin up a story about Hillary Clinton's health and Donald Trump saying things like, she looks weak and unpresidential, which really, at their core, fundamentally sexist comments. You know, we have a long history in the United States of presidents of the United States serving with distinction while actually being human beings and being ill from Roosevelt to Eisenhower to Kennedy to George H.W. Bush throwing up in the lap of the Japanese prime minister to his son choking on a pretzel.
ROTHKOPFThere are lots of examples of this kind of thing happening. It's extraneous and it's really laughable for the Trump campaign to be talking about transparency when he is running the most selectively transparent and in many cases opaque campaign that I can recall.
MARTINEZBut David, we put so much effort into figuring out which preschool our kids are going to go to or what care we're going to buy, we need to know every bit of information of background. Why wouldn't this be very important to know exactly what the health of the next president would be? Possible?
ROTHKOPFWell, first of all, you know, I think it is very important to know whether the person is in generally good health, as Hillary Clinton is, and being on the campaign trail for 18 months indicates that she has extraordinary energy and capacity. I think, you know, the notion that somehow the campaign could've been a little bit more forthcoming with regard to her medical records, you know, is probably a perfectly reasonable point, except, you know, the Trump campaign is much less forthcoming with information on virtually everything.
ROTHKOPFAnd, you know, you talk about reporters not having had access to her, at the same time, in the same day, Trump goes off to an event, doesn't inform reporters of where he's going, people don't know what's going on with him. I just think this is, you know, sort of the last dregs of political silly season. This is not really serious stuff and I look forward to getting into later in the month when there are debates and substance and we can get down to the fact that it's not really about the health of the candidates.
ROTHKOPFIt's about their capacity to lead and grapple with the issues that are at stake here where Trump has, time and time again, proven that he is incapable of grappling with presidential issues and doesn't have even the substantive background for the office or the character background for that matter.
MARTINEZWell, Bryon, since David just brought it up, what about Trump? What do we know about his health records?
YORKWell, look, the reason the conversation began with Hillary Clinton is because she collapsed at a public even yesterday. He did not. Now, as far as Trump's health is concerned, Trump actually sees this as kind of an opportunity to talk about that. On Fox News this morning, he announced that he has had a physical in the last few days, it sounded like, and that when he gets the results, he's going to release "the numbers" from it. So we'll see what he releases.
YORKBut he obviously seems to concede the fact that he needs to release more information about his health. He's obviously going to then call on Hillary Clinton to do more about it. But the reason this is a Clinton-focused conversation is because she had a health episode in public yesterday.
MARTINEZByron is this one of those situations where we start to look at the running mates a lot closer. It's one of the things, like, if you're a football team and you don't ever have to think about the backup quarterback until the quarterback, the starting guy gets hurt. Now, all of a sudden, you maybe have to think about the backup. So do we need to, like, think about Tim Kaine and Mike Pence even a little bit more than we have in the past?
YORKWell, I think that's true given the age of these candidates. You know, at one point, we thought if a Republican like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz had gotten the nomination, it would be a real generational contest. But as it is, you have the two oldest candidates sort of in memory of --- Trump at 70, who, on inauguration day, would be the oldest president every sworn into office. And you have Hillary Clinton who'll be 69 on inauguration day and she'll be just a few months younger than Ronald Reagan, the previously oldest president was.
YORKSo you have two candidates who are really pushing the edge of the envelope in terms of the age of the presidency. So, of course, that is going to draw attention to the vice presidential candidates. That's the same that happened -- that was part of the thinking behind the Sarah Palin controversy in 2008 when John McCain would've been the oldest president, had he been elected. So yeah, with the age of these candidates, you have to look at the vice presidents.
MARTINEZDavid, have we ever seen this in history, this close of an election focusing on the candidates' health?
ROTHKOPFWell, I mean, things come up in campaigns, you know. Bill Clinton lost his voice during a campaign and there were, you know, discussions about how old McCain was or Reagan's health or, you know, these things do come up along the way in campaigns. Campaigns, as it happens, are actually a pretty good way of determining whether somebody's fit enough to do the job because the schedule that candidates have to maintain is absolutely grueling and almost always candidates get exhausted, get a little bit sick, have to take some down time.
ROTHKOPFI think this is one of those instances and I wonder if we'd be making such a big deal out of it if Hillary Clinton weren't a woman.
MARTINEZByron, if first debate comes and everyone looks good, feels good, looks like they're okay, will we forget about this?
YORKYou know, I think if neither of the candidates has any health episodes and if they release more information about the state of their health checkups and all that, then I think it will probably go away, despite that age issue I was just talking about. And, of course, a debate is going to bring all sorts of things. I mean, if Hillary Clinton had not had this problem at the 9/11 ceremony, we'd probably be talking about the whole baskets of deplorables gaffe that she made at a fundraising on Friday night.
YORKOr after that, we'd be talking about something else that Trump said. So yeah, I think it will go away, as long as there is nothing else happening.
MARTINEZDavid, what about you? Just about 30 seconds.
ROTHKOPFNo, I think this will go away and we'll get onto other substantive issues, where it's the fact that you have a business man who refuses to release his tax returns, even though that's the only way to get any sense of what his financial makeup is or his under investigation right now for multiple criminal and civil issues out there regarding his university or pay to play in Florida or, you know, god forbid, we might actually get along to discussing the issues that the president of the United States is going to have to face in the next four years.
ROTHKOPFAnd I would hope we do because, frankly, that's where this campaign ought to be and it's been in a kind of a extended period of ad homonym attacks and nonsense for a while now and I think it's time to get onto real serious stuff.
MARTINEZThat's David Rothkopf. He's CEO and editor of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine. And Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. My thanks to you both.
MARTINEZComing up, a look at how homicide rates right now are rising in some of the nation's largest cities. I’m A. Martinez and this is "The Diane Rehm Show."
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