How Hillary Clinton's Health Became a Scandal

September 12th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Let's talk about Hillary Clinton's health — seriously.


The conversation over the candidate's health, post-pneumonia disclosure, has followed two predominant paths: on the one hand, you have people dismissing any talk about the issue as redundant and/or sexist; on the other hand, you have people citing this mostly benign health condition as supporting evidence for the various conspiracy theories put forward by opponents throughout this election.

But for a moment, let's compromise. As political analyst David Axelrod pointed out, the Clinton campaign's response to the health controversy reflects a broader problem.

Pneumonia isn't a scandal. But when a presidential candidate is diagnosed with pneumonia and the public is kept out of the loop, every for just a few hours, it can quickly devolve into scandal. But as Axelrod pointed out, that blade cuts both ways. As far as health records go, both candidates have only released doctors notes. And, Donald Trump has repeatedly declined to release his tax returns — a separate, albeit relevant, concern.

It's not unusual or unprecedented for the public to care about the health of a person running for the country's highest office. There's a legitimate interest there, and the initial response of the Clinton campaign to questions about the candidate's wellbeing — that she was simply overheated and had fully recovered hours after she was seen stumbling to her car during an event on Sunday — played into long-standing concerns about transparency.

It could have been avoided. And now, just two months from Election Day, we have both candidates announcing plans to release their medical records.

In response to Axelrod's tweets, Clinton's communications director Jennifer Palmieri admitted that the campaign "could have done better," but claimed that the "public knows more about HRC than any nominee in history."

It's certainly true that Clinton has been the subject of media scrutiny throughout her political career. It's also true Trump has also earned valid criticisms for his own campaign's lack of transparency.

And yet, fair or not, the transparency standard set by the electorate for Clinton appears to be much higher than for Trump, and Sunday's health incident will likely be interpreted as more evidence that she is not a trustworthy candidate.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton's Doctor Reveals the Actual Reason She Left the 9/11 Memorial