#TrumpStroke and #TrumpIsUnwell were both top Twitter trends on Tuesday amid stories that Donald Trump has suffered a series of mini-strokes. Calling it a ‘conspiracy theory’, Trump offered a statement from his physician to explain the visit to Walter Reed Hospital, saying he’s “never had a series of mini-strokes” and blamed the press for the rumor.
Except the press never reported he had “a series of mini-strokes’.”
So the president is denying something that no one has actually reported – that he had a series of mini-strokes. https://t.co/GcatJopYV9
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 1, 2020
A strangely-worded letter from Trump’s personal physical soon appeared online.
White House statement from Dr. Sean P. Conley, Physician to the President: pic.twitter.com/9ty3n4pM3x
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 1, 2020
Twitter thinks Trump doth protest too much now that a new book from Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt has revealed that Mike Pence was ready to take over should Trump’s health suddenly deteriorate. The revelation led to online speculation — without any evidence — that Trump may have suffered a stroke, which may have been partially based on false reports that the book mentioned a separate hospitalization for a “cerebral event.” Schmidt’s book never says Trump had a stroke, a series of strokes, or any other specific medical condition.
The stroke story seems to have originated with bestselling author Don Winslow, whose viral videos have become increasingly critical of Trump, garnering millions of online views and shares. Winslow notes that no one used the phrase Trump kept repeating, a tactic that usually works for him even as fact checkers are at the ready to disprove him.
The exact line: "a series of mini-strokes" only appeared two places:
1. My tweet August 1, 2020.
2. Donald Trump's tweet today. Sept 1, 2020.
Why did Trump feel compelled today to send out a tweet denying what I wrote one month ago?
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) September 1, 2020
His recent visit to New Hampshire showed a frail and unsteady Trump, who tried to play off his near-fall as a grand entrance. It recalls the controversy around his appearance at West Point, where he had difficulty navigating a ramp for his entrance and exit.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.