A viral video from Donald Trump’s address to West Point graduates appears to show the president struggling to lift a glass of water, needing a second hand to steady himself and pour the water into his mouth.
The clip was taken from the president’s address to graduates on Saturday, and the video quickly spread around social media. Many of the president’s critics seized on the awkward moment, as well as another clip that showed him looking unsteady as he walked down the stairs following his speech.
As the New York Daily News pointed out, the incidents from what the report called a “lethargic” speech led to some mockery online.
“The incidents took barely a couple of moments to play out but drew an instant reaction on social media,” the report noted.
“One troll tweeted photos of Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, grinning as he used just one hand to a hold a coconut.”
“Others recalled one time Trump rival Sen. Marco Rubio’s infamous speech in which he repeatedly sipped from a water bottle.”
Other commenters noted how Trump and others seized on unfounded conspiracy theories that Hillary Clinton was in failing health during the 2016 presidential campaign, point to moments that appeared similar to the ones Trump showed on Saturday to claim that she was suffering severe neurological issues. The attacks, though most not directly from Trump, were decried as a smear at the time and proved to be unfounded.
Trump's bone spurs must've flared up when he said "Vietnam" here pic.twitter.com/MKulddtuqL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 13, 2020
Some appeared to believe that Trump could be suffering from a real neurological issue. Dr. Bandi X. Lee, a Yale University psychiatrist who has frequently called into question the president’s mental and physical health, took to Twitter to say that the incidents during the speech could be a sign of a more significant problem.
“This is a persistent neurological sign that, combined with others, would be concerning enough to require a brain scan,” Lee wrote on Twitter.
Lee has previously led mental health experts to question Trump’s fitness to lead, though those efforts have faced criticism as many consider it unethical for medical experts to share opinions on the health of someone they have not examined or treated directly.
Trump’s West Point speech itself was controversial, as the institution’s graduates had been sent home months ago amid the spread of the coronavirus. After Trump announced plans to give the in-person speech to graduates, they had to be called back to campus from their homes in a move that critics believed would put them at risk.