Politics

Controversial Hashtag Reveals the Way Trump Supporters Are Attacking Hillary Clinton

August 8th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

As the Donald Trump campaign attempts to move past a bad week in the polls and escalating tensions within the GOP, Trump's attacks on Hillary Clinton — and those from his surrogates and supporters — have taken a particularly vicious turn.

Trump supporters are using the trending hashtag #HillarysHealth to question the candidate's mental and physical capacities.

The bulk of these posts use out-of-context footage of Clinton to suggest that she suffers from serious health issues that the mainstream media has deliberately ignored.

This February photograph of Clinton aides helping the candidate climb a set of stairs was been widely circulated online after it was reported by conservative news site the American Mirror.

"The questionable health condition of Hillary Clinton should be a major issue of the 2016 campaign," American Mirror editor Kyle Olson wrote. "The latest evidence comes in the form of Clinton being helped up a set of stairs by multiple individuals outside what appears to be a home. The photos, published by Reuters and Getty, show the 68-year-old candidate with aides holding her arms as she ascends the stairs."

As the Washington Post points out, the image was taken at a South Carolina primary campaign stop when Clinton had slipped while ascending the stairs — something that could happen to virtually anyone, regardless of their age or health.

Others are speculating that Clinton's health is to blame for her campaign's decision to give a scant number of press conferences.

The trend has surfaced in the wake of a remark made by Clinton to Fox News host Chris Wallace that earned her "four Pinocchios" from the Washington Post's fact-checking team.

Clinton told Wallace that she was truthful about the classification of her emails with the American people according to FBI Director James Comey. In actuality, Comey said that Clinton was honest with the FBI but not the general public. She explained the remark at an August 5 joint convention of black and Hispanic journalists by saying "So I may have short-circuited it."

The Trump campaign quickly took her words out of context.

"She took a short-circuit in the brain," Trump said at a rally on Saturday. "She's got problems. Honestly, I don't think she's all there."

The Trump campaign unleashed a scathing attack ad portraying Clinton as a failing robot. On Twitter, Trump supporters have used this line to question if Clinton is mentally "fully there."

These attacks strip video clips of Clinton taken through the years from their context to advance a narrative that she is concealing health problems from the public.

Trump supporter Martin Shkreli made a particularly reckless allegation on Sunday, when he alleged that Clinton exhibited symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

Shkreli — who has not attended medical school — took it upon himself to give a press conference on Clinton's health on Periscope.

In one tweet, he explained himself by referencing "The West Wing" — a TV series in which Martin Sheen plays a fictional president who has multiple sclerosis.

Though these questions have seen a surge in popularity over the past few days, they are nothing new.

In 2014, Republican strategist Karl Rove attacked Clinton for a hospital visit over a blood clot he characterized as a "traumatic brain injury" that cast serious doubts on her mental capacities. As Politico reported, Rove's comment was widely viewed as deceptive and deliberately misleading.