Trump's unsteady ramp walk raises new health questions ahead of US elections

image

WASHINGTON (AFP) - As US President Donald Trump turns 74 on Sunday (June 14), an incident a day earlier in which he appeared unsteady on his feet has revived questions about his health as he heads into a gruelling re-election campaign.

Scrutiny of a president's health is always intense, and Mr Trump has generally appeared vigorous for his age. Results of a routine physical released early this month showed he was overweight - 110kg - but with otherwise normal test results.

But his appearance on Saturday at the US military academy in West Point, New York raised new questions about apparent signs of unsteadiness, balance problems and trouble enunciating certain words.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - As US President Donald Trump turns 74 on Sunday (June 14), an incident a day earlier in which he appeared unsteady on his feet has revived questions about his health as he heads into a gruelling re-election campaign.

Scrutiny of a president's health is always intense, and Mr Trump has generally appeared vigorous for his age. Results of a routine physical released early this month showed he was overweight - 110kg - but with otherwise normal test results.

But his appearance on Saturday at the US military academy in West Point, New York raised new questions about apparent signs of unsteadiness, balance problems and trouble enunciating certain words.

After a widely circulated video on Saturday showed Mr Trump walking tentatively and unsteadily down a long ramp after delivering a commencement speech at West Point, he took to Twitter to issue an explanation.

"The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery," Mr Trump said.

"The last thing I was going to do is 'fall' for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!"

Reporters at the scene said the weather was dry and the ramp not particularly steep.

EARLIER INCIDENTS

But Mr Trump also appeared to have trouble on Saturday lifting a glass of water to his lips - beginning the gesture with his right hand but then raising his left hand apparently to help.

And, not for the first time, he seemed to mispronounce a number of names of well-known Americans, including those of army generals Ulysses S. Grant and Douglas MacArthur.

His West Point performance was not the first time Mr Trump's health has been questioned, particularly by his avowed political critics, whose speculation has run the gamut from early dementia to a minor stroke.

Late last month, Mr Trump seemed to have trouble standing still during a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, though some commentators said he might simply have been weary.

That appearance also came at a time when Mr Trump said he had been taking a course of hydroxychloroquine, a drug he believed could help fend off the coronavirus, despite a lack of medical evidence. Side effects of the drug include dizziness and nausea.

Mr Trump has repeatedly tested negative for Covid-19.