Footage that some believe shows Donald Trump “dragging” his right leg has led to an explosion of online rumors about the former president’s health.
Prior to his landslide win in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, Trump was accused, largely by critics, of looking unwell after being seen walking into the Hotel Fort Des Moines alongside his security detail and campaign staff.
Across social media, users primarily alleged that the 77-year-old was clearly struggling to walk throughout his trip to Iowa.
“He looks ‘off balance’ while walking!!” one user wrote. “I am thinking there is a medical problem going on there!!”
Others jumped to more serious conclusions, including the belief that Trump was dealing with severe heart disease.
“My grandfather used to walk/wander/shuffle like this about a year before he died,” another user said. “He was suffering from COPD, congestive heart failure, & extreme neuropathy in feet from diabetes. He was profoundly hard of hearing, but he was polite, kind, and NOT a traitor or tax cheat.”
Some even suggested that Trump must have recently suffered a stroke based off little more than 20 seconds of screen time.
“Trump appears to have recently suffered a stroke… leg drag and all…” another added.
Another popular claim was that Trump’s alleged issues were linked to either recreational drug use or copious amounts of medication.
“Trump looks a lot older than Biden here,” one user said. “Is the strange problem with his right leg and his slurred speech neurological or is he hopped up on drugs?”
Video of Trump delivering pizza to a group of firefighters in Iowa on Sunday was also seen as evidence of his alleged mobility issues.
The rumors garnered so much attention that the media outlet the Daily Express US even consulted a body language expert to examine recent footage of Trump.
The expert, Judi James, concurred with many online that the former president looked “less steady” than normal.
“His normal gait when there are cameras around is more alpha-based, with his head up and chest puffed,” James said. “The look in this clip could suggest he was tired or that he’d had a long journey. I’d be suspicious about the open-neck shirt though, Trump is an experienced performer and he might see some advantage in signaling a hint of exhaustion on the run up to the election to show he’s putting some graft in.”
Claims surrounding Trump’s health, unsurprisingly, appeared to be largely partisan. Opponents of the former president are the most vocal in suggesting that Trump is sick. Trump’s supporters on the other hand see the allegations as part of a grand conspiracy on behalf of the media to hamper his presidential aims.
When Trump was running against Hillary Clinton in 2016, the same claims were seen online. Trump’s fans alleged that Clinton was on her deathbed and severely ill, despite the politician being alive and well eight years later.
Biden’s health has also been subject to concern and speculation in recent years.
The fact that Americans are so busy arguing over which senior citizen is the least ill, and therefore the most fit to lead the nation, should arguably be the biggest concern of all.