On Thursday, writing for NBC News Opinion, communications consultant Arick Wierson analyzed the recent comment from former President Donald Trump in a Washington Post interview that he would have to consider his health when making a decision about another run for president in 2024.
“You always have to talk about health. You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying come see me again. That’s not good when they use the word again.” Trump said. This is not the first time he has said this — he also made similar remarks in an interview with Real Clear Politics last year — but, argued Wierson, his increased attention to this is significant.
"This offhand comment — one that apparently came as something of an afterthought toward the end of the interview — sent shock waves through the political establishment," wrote Wierson. "He has often been deliberately misleading and even dishonest about his health, and for him to proactively bring it up as a potential reason not to run in 2024 is something of a watershed moment. But Trump being Trump, what you see or hear is not exactly what you get, and it would be ill-advised to take his comments at face value."
There are three possible explanations for this, wrote Wierson. First, he may truly have health issues: "Trump, who would be 78 by the time he would take office if he were to win another term, has had access to the world’s best health care. But his advanced age, his 2020 bout with the coronavirus, coupled with obesity, and what has been well documented as a generally unhealthy lifestyle may be catching up with him. There has also been rampant speculation that he may even be in the early stages of dementia."
But also, he argued, Trump could simply be looking for a way out of a run that he doesn't really want to do anymore — or, he may simply be throwing up a "trial balloon" to see which Republicans might gear up to run in his place in the event he doesn't run. "Do GOP heirs-apparent such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pounce on what might be construed as Trump’s weakness to gain an advantage ahead of 2024, or do they rally behind the former president in a show of continued loyalty?" he wrote.
"Either way, it will be interesting to see whether he returns to his health issues in the run-up to 2024," concluded Wierson.
Trump made a similar comment in 2021, after Real Clear Politics asked the former president what could prevent him from running in 2024.
“Well, one reason could be your health. You get a call from your doctor and that's the end of that," Trump explained. “That stuff happens; you hope it doesn't. I just had a medical, just had great result. You never know, there are many things can happen; politics is a crazy world. It is a big commitment of you, your children, your wife and your family."
Trump also commented on his own health while endorsing Mehmet Oz -- better known as TV's "Dr. Oz" -- in Pennsylvania’s Senate GOP primary. "He even said that I was in extraordinary health, which made me like him even more (although he also said I should lose a couple of pounds)," Trump boasted.
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