As a first-class narcissist, President Trump has insisted he is the healthiest president ever, as his former physician comically represented to the American people. In reality, signs of ill health and/or aging are becoming increasingly hard to ignore.

There was his mysterious trip to Walter Reed, which he would have us believe was part of an early annual exam. (That would mean it wasn’t annual, right?) There have been numerous episodes of slurred or garbled speech, captured and shared on social media. (This is quite apart from his increasingly incoherent, fragmented verbal communication, a juicy subject for @sarahcpr and other comics.)

On Saturday, at his address at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., he needed two hands to sip a glass of water. His tottering, baby steps down a ramp while exiting was the latest episode in which he seemed to have trouble navigating uneven footing. As comments and snickering spread around the Internet, Trump dashed off an unconvincing tweet:

Anyone watching the address could see it was a sunny, dry day. Moreover, the general at his side seemed to have no trouble at all walking down the ramp. (The president bounced on the last couple of steps, not the “final ten feet.”)

We will likely never know until he is out of the White House what mental and/or physical ailments may afflict him. Two things are clear, however. First, it is an entirely legitimate topic for the campaign. The media should not relent in asking questions and demanding to speak with his doctors. Second, former vice president Joe Biden, a spry and fit 77-year-old, would be foolish not to mention it during the campaign. Trump increasingly seems like he is from another era, not someone who can make America great, but rather someone who never left the 1950s. His doddering appearance and faltering speech only add to the image of a man fading before our eyes.

Ironically, Trump is more than willing to create health hazards for himself and others. His infamous refusal to wear a mask puts aides and visitors at risk while increasing the chance he might contract the coronavirus. His insistence on holding a mass indoor rally with people who scorn mask-wearing, the first in Tulsa, has now become the focus of health officials.

Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned in an interview with ABC News’s Jonathan Karl that masks should be worn. He said that “the best way that you can avoid — either acquiring or transmitting infection — is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask whenever you’re outside. And if you can do both, avoid the congregation of people and do the mask, that’s great.” He added, “If you’re going to be in a situation where — beyond your control there’s a lot of people around you — make sure you wear a mask.”

Meanwhile, the Tulsa World reports, “Expressing concerns about covid-19’s increasing spread, the Tulsa City-County Health Department’s director said he wishes the campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the BOK Center on June 20 would be pushed back to a later date.” Noting that cases of coronavirus have been rising, Bruce Dart is desperately and appropriately trying to protect both attendees and the president:

“COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently,” Dart said. “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”
Dart said his concern stems from a sudden spike in cases he said likely comes from a combination of factors, but not increased testing. Health department data shows Tulsa County’s 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases has risen from 24.9 cases on June 7 to 51.4 as of Friday. . . .
“There was a funeral that had a large attendance and we’re finding quite a few cases from that,” Dart said. “But other than that, it’s broad community spread from being out in the community and not taking those necessary precautions we’ve been talking about.”

Trump is unlikely to listen. His massive ego must be fed, his thirst for applause from his cult quenched.

In short, Trump’s own health may be deteriorating, but, more important, he is willing to put thousands of Americans at risk. Even in ordinary times a president this reckless would be a danger. Given the pandemic, Trump’s willingness to help spread the virus is reason enough to vote him out. It would be a lifesaving service for those he would continue to expose.

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