‘Something’s wrong with Donald Trump’: New ad from Republican group that drove president into a fury questions his health

Footage shows 74-year-old leader teetering down West Point ramp and struggling to lift bottles of water

Andrew Naughtie
Wednesday 17 June 2020 14:47 BST
New Lincoln Project ad says 'Trump is Not Well'

Days after he was shown struggling to descend a gentle ramp at the West Point graduation ceremony, Donald Trump has been hit with a new attack ad drawing attention to what it says is evidence of his poor and declining health.

The 45-second video comes from the Lincoln Project, a group formed by longtime Republican campaign strategists who view the president’s re-election as a risk to the future of the US.

Over shots of Mr Trump teetering down the West Point ramp and struggling to lift bottles of water, the ad’s concerned voiceover urgently informs the viewer: “Something’s wrong with Donald Trump.”

It says: “He’s shaky. Weak. Trouble speaking. Trouble walking. So why aren’t we talking about this – and why isn’t the press covering Trump’s secret midnight run to Walter Reed Medical Centre? Why do so many reporters who cover the White House pretend they can’t see Trump’s decline?

“The most powFooerful office in the world needs more than a weak, unfit, shaky president. Trump doesn’t have the strength to lead, nor the character to admit it.

“We’re not doctors, but we’re not blind. It’s time we talk about this. Trump is not well.”

The ad hammers its point home with the Lincoln Project’s new #TrumpIsNotWell hashtag.

The “secret midnight run to Walter Reed Medical Centre” the ad mentions took place in November 2019. While the White House claimed Mr Trump was merely undergoing his 2020 physical ahead of schedule, the visit was not announced in advance, and Mr Trump’s schedule remained clear for several days afterwards, fuelling speculation something unusual had occurred.

Mr Trump’s medical status also came in for scrutiny in 2018, when the New York gastroenterologist who wrote him a physical report in 2015 admitted the then-candidate had simply dictated it over the phone. The report was mocked at the time for saying the clearly overweight Mr Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”.

However, Mr Trump and his aides give as good as they get. As their re-election campaign heats up, they are repeatedly accusing Joe Biden – who they call “Sleepy Joe” – of senility, many times promoting clips and supercuts showing him slurring words or apparently forgetting subjects mid-sentence.

And in the last election, the Trump campaign made much of an episode where Hillary Clinton was seen fainting at a 9/11 memorial event during a bout of pneumonia. Rumours even spread among some Trump supporters that she had Parkinson’s disease, advanced dementia, or even that she had died and been replaced with a body double.

Previous Lincoln Project ads, carefully targeted to appear during Fox News shows the president watches, have so successfully enraged Mr Trump that his reaction has generated days of news coverage – in turn raising the group millions of dollars in grassroots donations.

The group is also running commercials in swing states where Republican senators loyal to Mr Trump are facing strong challengers. Among its targets are Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, who leads the party in the Senate.

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