It wasn’t just former Obama adviser David Axelrod noting that the Clinton campaign’s “penchant for secrecy” is creating unnecessary drama, some of her top allies and confidants appear to be ripping their hair out as well. On Sunday, Hillary Clinton had to be whisked away around 9:30 a.m. at the 9/11 Memorial after feeling overheated. There’s the unsettling video of her stumbling off the curb, as she’s being helped into her van when the motorcade pulls up. For 90 minutes, the press had no idea where Clinton was, or the status of her condition after a very visible medical episode. She eventually went to her daughter’s apartment, where it was later revealed that she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.
Still, it created buzz about her health, with questions about her condition no longer seeming conspiratorial since she tried to hide a simple pneumonia diagnosis. Once again the Clinton provided another reason for voters to remain skeptical about her honesty and trustworthiness. For the Clinton camp, this aura of secrecy once again bit them in the butt. One ally called this episode a “self-inflicted f**king nightmare” (via The Hill):
A lack of transparency about her health has turned what might have been a non-issue into a hugely problematic storyline for Hillary Clinton that could plague the Democratic presidential nominee into November, say allies and confidants.
One ally described the string of events that culminated in Clinton leaving a Sept. 11 memorial early as a “self-inflicted f—ing nightmare.”
Clinton’s campaign sought to deal with the fallout on Monday of damaging video that showed Clinton’s knees buckling and Secret Service agents helping her into a van. The campaign later revealed that the Democratic nominee was suffering from pneumonia.
A second ally said Clinton and her team probably wanted to withhold that she’d been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday so that conservatives who have been raising questions about her health wouldn’t have ammunition.
Yet in withholding the information and allowing Clinton to go forward with an event that she was not able to handle, they made the situation worse.
Like her emails, it was totally avoidable. Now, the campaign says they will release more health documents within the week, but I certainly wouldn’t fault the former first lady for not attending the 9/11 Memorial due to illness; pneumonia isn’t something to treat lightly, especially when the mortality rate spikes as you age. The line is that Clinton has a special connection to the 9/11 attacks since she was a U.S. Senator from New York at the time—and she wanted to “power through it.” The first point is understandable, though they could’ve built a stronger defense against possible critics who would’ve bashed her absence if she had announced she was taking a few days off due to pneumonia prior to the 9/11 anniversary. She could’ve released a detailed and heartfelt statement and rested. Instead, she tried to hide this illness, and now her team is doing damage control when they could be attacking Donald Trump. At the same time, I’m not complaining about this; anything that undercuts Lady Macbeth is good. Yet, as Clinton rests, there appears to be some water wars going on with her recovery. Apparently, Clinton refuses to drink water to remain hydrated, which is creating some consternation with her aides (via Politico):
Clinton’s pneumonia isn’t severe, according to two people with direct knowledge of the candidate’s condition, and she is expected to return to the campaign trail as early as this week. The real issue is chronic dehydration, exacerbated by her lung problem and Clinton’s reluctance to drink water, which has become a source of tension with her staff.
“She won’t drink water, and you try telling Hillary Clinton she has to drink water,” said a person in her orbit – who described a frenzied rehydration mission that included multiple bottles of water and Gatorade.
But the two Clinton confidantes told POLITICO that Clinton, drinking water while sitting in the air-conditioned backseat, quickly recovered and began making calls to tell staff and family what had happened, and almost immediately began assessing the political fallout.
Okay—so let’s entertain this for a second. Forget admitting that you have pneumonia, this whole wobbly episode could’ve been avoided if she simply drank water? I’m not so sure about that. In fact, there’s nothing that will come from this campaign that isn’t going to raise a tinge of doubt regarding authenticity since they underwent the many pains to either conceal or be willfully neglectful in telling us that the former secretary of state was sick. Little sips of water and she’s 100 percent better? What is she drinking from – the Holy Grail? Still, there was some chatter about Clinton being replaced. That aspect is unfounded, unsubstantiated gossip. But the former DNC chair, Don Fowler, did suggest that a Plan B should be considered should Clinton exit the race. That’s not going to happen, but Clinton might see a dip in the polls over this staggering episode.