Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suffered a mild heart attack on October 2, and now a former House Oversight Committee spokesperson, who is currently a columnist for USA Today, wants Democrats to ask hard questions about Sanders’ health. A second heart attack for Sanders, if he were to win the party’s nomination, would be a “gift” to Donald Trump, Kurt Bardella writes.
Bardella appeared in an MSNBC interview on Sunday morning, to discuss scenarios that might unfold were Sanders to become the Democratic nominee. As seen in the video excerpt below, Bardella asked what “the plan is if the Democratic nominee is Bernie Sanders and he suffers a heart attack on the campaign trail.”
Under that scenario, Democrats would be “giving Donald Trump a second term,” Bardella said in the interview.
Two previous presidents — Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson — each suffered heart attacks prior to winning elections. Eisenhower’s heart attack was described as “massive,” by the National Institutes of Health, and occurred in 1955, his third year in office. But the former Army general ran for and won a second term in 1956. He survived that term and in fact lived until 1969 when he died at age 78-years-old.
Sanders, however, was already 78-years-old when he suffered his heart attack last October. If he were to win the presidency, he would be 79-years-old by the time he assumed office.
"I want to know what the plan is if the Democratic nominee is @BernieSanders & he suffers a heart attack on the campaign trail, what are Democrats going to do? Because if that happens, they’re giving @realDonaldTrump a 2nd term" pic.twitter.com/wu2XbhqDDL
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) January 12, 2020
“Do Democrats really believe that the best chance to defeat Trump lies with a 78-year-old who has already suffered a heart attack?” Bardella asked in his USA Today column published on Saturday.
The columnist went on to warn Democrats of the consequences if a second Sanders coronary incident occurred in public. Sanders’ heart attack last year occurred as the Vermont senator was on stage during a campaign appearance. But despite a hospitalization, Sanders did not acknowledge that the incident was, in fact, a heart attack, rather than the initial claim of “chest discomfort,” until three days later.
Writing that it would be “irresponsible and naive” of Democrats to ignore the questions surrounding Sanders’ health, Bardella cites statistics from the American Heart Association showing that one of every five heart attack victims will suffer a second coronary within five years of the initial incident — and that there are 335,000 incidents of “recurrent” heart attacks on a yearly basis.
But none of those 335,000 heart attacks have happened to a person under the stress of running for president, Bardella wrote, adding that “lifestyle changes” such as “managing stress” are strongly recommended for recovering heart attack patients.
“If the worst-case scenario happens and Sanders suffers a repeat heart incident, what is the plan?” Bardella asks — speculating that Sanders could conceivably experience a second heart attack in the middle of a televised debate with Trump.