Should Americans Be Concerned for the Health of the President?
The White House on Wednesday responded to questions about President Trump's disturbingly slurred speech, which was strikingly obvious to many who watched his address announcing he was officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would be moving the U.S. embassy there.
Some reporters have said Trump slurred his words only at the end, when it was most obvious, but the slurring begins earlier, as this video shows:
President Trump's speech was significantly slurred during this Israel announcement at the White House pic.twitter.com/6QoqXF0q2jâ€” NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 6, 2017
"His throat was dry. There's nothing to it," White House spokesman Raj Shah said, the L.A. Times reports.
Pressed on whether the slurred words might indicate any health concerns, Shah said: "I know what you're getting at. I'm saying there's nothing to it."
CNN spoke with two medical doctors.
CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, said he watched the video closely a few times. "There is clearly some abnormalities of his speech," he said. "You could call it slurring or just a little bit of difficulty forming the words."
Michael de Riesthal, a speech and language pathologist, agrees. "There was definitely some imprecise progressive change in articulatory precision and slowing of his speech that is not typical in normal speech," said de Riesthal, an assistant professor in hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the director of the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute. "The distortion of his articulation, though, is unknown in etiology."
AMERICAblog editor John Aravosis reports it wasn't only Trump's speech that was disturbing. He took screenshots of Trump's signature on the executive order he signed at the end of his Jerusalem speech, and compared the signature to previous ones. You can see some of the images also here:
Trump's speech suddenly slurs during major Jerusalem statement, and an examination of his signature shows a noticeable decline as well. 1) Signature today. 2) Previous exec order. I have video as well via the link.â€” John Aravosis (@aravosis) December 7, 2017
In the official White House video you can also see Trump's signature, which does seem to appear sloppier and less definitive than previous ones:
Raw Story adds that GOP strategist Steve Schmidt on MSNBC Thursday morning called Trump's slurred speech "chilling," and makes another important observation.
"Presidents every year typically go to the Bethesda Naval Hospital for a checkup," Schmidt said. "This president, to my knowledge, is departing that tradition. We don't know what's going on, but this is a legitimate issue worthy of consideration. This is the man who commands America's nuclear arsenal."
Should Americans be concerned for the health of the president? You decide.
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