UPDATE: After speculation of his awkward descent penetrated the president’s notoriously thin skin, Trump responded with the below tweeted excuse that can charitably be described as pathetic.
The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery. The last thing I was going to do is “fall” for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2020
“Walk like a man, talk like a man
Walk like a man my son.”
“Walk Like a Man” — The Four Seasons
No one will be singing the old Four Seasons hit from the 1960s to Donald Trump anytime soon, judging from the footage of his delicate exit from the stage at the West Point commencement address that he gave today.
Even more rampant speculation about the president’s physical and mental health than is normal on any given day was bandied about this afternoon after a pair of videos went viral online this afternoon. In the first, Trump struggles to take a sip of water:
Do you think he will explain what is up with not being able to fully bring a glass of water to his mouth with his right hand, needing to use his left one to help? https://t.co/4anmtGXG1j
— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) June 14, 2020
In the second, Trump is seen taking careful toddler steps down a ramp from the stage.
#TrumpNeedsAWalker should be trending
His decline is dramatic.
— Fin FoxGuy #AmericaInCrisis (@FinFox2) June 13, 2020
Those viewing the footage of Trump’s awkward descent as he carefully watched his own feet while he slowly shuffled down the ramp, perilously close to falling over from his pronounced forward lean — followed by his triumphant jog on his final steps as he hit the level ground — were varied as to their opinions about the cause of the obvious difficulty the president — whose yearly physical results have yet to be credibly released — was having while navigating the not-particularly-steep downward slope.
Some people pointed to the president’s gait as a sign that Trump is suffering from Frontotemporal Dementia as the nation is suffering from his abysmal performance in office.
Others blamed his vanity.
Can we do something about this now ??? Asking for the over 100,000 dead Americans from his stupidity ???.
— Peace (@mrorangevale) June 13, 2020
Reasonable speculation: that unscheduled "visit" to Walter Reed last year, Trump experiencing mild stroke. Signs are clear w/erratic behavior, speech deterioration, lack of focus, thought incoherence. ONE SIDE physical tells: R eye droop, R arm lift, R leg drag. Same thing F-I-L.
— Brent O (@OnlineDetective) June 13, 2020
He is going to fall flat on his face on camera,and it will be glorious. If he wasn’t evil I’d feel sorry for him.
— m1ke77 (@m1ke77) June 13, 2020
The ramp was probably put there in place of stairs which would be even worse for him.
— Amy Beth (@happylittlefish) June 13, 2020
I think that is why they are hitting Biden with how he talks. Taking the Spotlight away from himself
— Tardis_lass (@Heathfeath45) June 13, 2020
Only if/when Biden gets elected will people be told the true extent of his health issues.
— Creatrix5 (@Creatrix5) June 13, 2020
If Trump has indeed suffered a stroke or has some other neurological disorder that caused his embarrassing inability to walk down the ramp normally, he won’t be the first president to try to conceal his physical deterioration from the American public.
President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke while in office just over 100 years ago, but his wife and the White House physician at the time concealed his condition from the general public until only a few months remained in his term.
At the time, however, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution dealing with issues of presidential succession in the case of the disability of the chief executive had yet to be conceived.
Since it was passed in 1967, the vice-president, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” can band together to decide that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” even against his own stubborn declarations to the contrary.
The president can fight the declaration, and it would take a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress declaring that they agree with his incapacitated condition to prevent him from regaining his official powers.
With such a powerful tool at their disposal, the only thing preventing Republicans from saving the country — and their own party — from the dangers inherent in the Donald Trump presidency is their own fear at defying that man who gave them the tax cuts and reactionary judges that they so lusted after.
The latest footage of Trump’s obvious physical difficulties may not provide enough evidence to invoke the 25th Amendment — although the president has furnished more than ample evidence of mental health issues that should justify that decision — but it certainly should provide ammunition for urgent calls for a transparent evaluation of Donald Trump’s current physical and mental condition, particularly since he is seeking to win another four years in office.
The American people deserve to know the truth about the president’s health.
Let’s hope this video convinces everyone to demand it so we can all sing one of the verses from “Walk Like a Man”:
“Bye bye baby, I don’t-a mean maybe
Gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be cryin’ on account of all your lyin’
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughin’ now.”
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.