During his nine-minute address to the nation about the conflict with Iran on Wednesday morning, Donald Trump reverted to his habit of sharply sniffing and breathing heavily during public speeches — a habit that has been evident at least since his first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, as reported by Forbes at the time.
In fact, Trump was recorded making sniffing sounds a total of 58 times in the course of the nine-minute speech, as captured in a “supercut” video seen below on this page, compiled and edited by journalist Timothy Burke. The cause of Trump’s heavy sniffing syndrome is unclear, but a staff member on his former reality television show The Apprentice claimed that the sniffing is caused by drug use.
Specifically, onetime Apprentice staffer Noel Casler claimed on his Twitter account shortly after the speech concluded that Trump abuses amphetamines including the attention deficit disorder drug Adderall and has been “addicted to speed for decades.”
But in 2016, Forbes reporter Bruce Y. Lee suggested numerous other possible causes for the unusual habit. While “medication” was one possibility suggested by Lee, he also noted that Trump may simply have allergies or a nervous tic which could be caused by “anxiety and stress,” or more serious conditions such as “obsessive-compulsive disorder, epilepsy or Tourette’s syndrome.”
58 times. He sniffed 58 times during his address. Here are all of them. pic.twitter.com/GoAIfsfdLd— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 8, 2020
Another internet user, Jeremy McLaughlin, put together a YouTube supercut of Trump’s repeated sniffing during the Wednesday morning speech. But McLaughlin also included other unsettling moments in which Trump appears to have trouble pronouncing commonly used words. On Wednesday, as seen in the video below, Trump failed to correctly pronounce the words “tolerate” and “accomplishments.”
About one year ago, Trump delivered his first nationally televised Oval Office address — a format used by past presidents during national crises, or to announce major policy initiatives. In Trump’s case, he used his first and so far only Oval Office speech to repeat his demand that Congress grant funding for a southern “border wall.”
But the topic of that address, too, was overshadowed by Trump’s frequent, and audible sniffing. Several internet users also edited that performance into a montage of sniffing sounds that one journalist compared to “deeply unsettling ‘sex tape audio.'”
Writing on his Twitter account, ophthalmologist and body language expert Dr. Jack Brown noted what he said was another anomaly in Trump’s Wednesday speech. In addition to the repeated sniffing, Brown noted, Trump’s pupils appear “intermittently much larger than normal.”
Brown wrote that Trump’s dilated pupils are the medical equivalent of “Sirens Blaring. Red flashing lights.”
According to Brown, Trump’s pupils reach eight millimeters wide in images taken during the Wednesday morning speech. In a well-lit room, Brown said, a 70-year-old individual (Trump is now 73) would not display pupils as wide as eight millimeters “unless there is either disease, injury or a pharmacologic cause present.”