NEW YORK (AFP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is suffering from pneumonia and was overheated and dehydrated when she quickly left a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York on Sunday, her doctor said.
The incident at Ground Zero, in which the 68-year-old Clinton seemed to lose her footing as she was helped into her vehicle, sparked new questions about her health – and offered Donald Trump a new opening to attack his White House rival.
Clinton had been seeking to bounce back from a campaign blunder Friday, when she told donors that half of Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables” – so Sunday’s episode was certainly ill-timed.
The former secretary of state spent 90 minutes at the high-profile ceremony in lower Manhattan, greeting some family members of those killed in the deadly terror strikes 15 years ago, her campaign said in a statement.
“During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment, and is feeling much better,” it added.
Later, the campaign released a fresh statement from her personal doctor, Lisa Bardack, who revealed that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia and was suffering from dehydration.
“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia,” Bardack said.
“She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”
A campaign aide said Clinton had been examined at her home in Chappaqua, New York, after she was forced to leave Ground Zero.
A video posted on Twitter showed Clinton seeming unsteady as she waited to get into a black van to leave the emotional 9/11 service.
She appeared to stumble as she was helped into the vehicle, and had to be held up on either side by members of her entourage.
It was a humid day in New York, with temperatures around 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius).
“I didn’t see anything unusual. What I can tell you is that many of us (had) a sigh of relief when a gust of wind would come by because it was incredibly stifling,” Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley, who stood near Clinton for about an hour at the ceremony, told MSNBC.
Clinton appeared better as she walked out of her daughter Chelsea’s home a few hours later, smiling for the media and posing for pictures with a young girl before departing for Chappaqua.
“I’m feeling great, it’s a beautiful day in New York,” Clinton said.
But a senior campaign aide said a planned fundraising trip to California on Monday was “currently in discussion.”