Hillary Clinton cancelled a California fundraising trip after being diagnosed with pneumonia and falling ill Sunday at a 9/11 ceremony, putting her health at the forefront of the campaign in which the two major party nominees are among the oldest ever.
“Secretary Clinton will not be traveling to California tomorrow or Tuesday,” spokesman Nick Merrill said, hours after the 68-year-old candidate abruptly left the Ground Zero memorial in New York suffering from dehydration.
The incident, in which a wobbly Clinton appeared to lose her footing as she was helped into her vehicle, offered Republican Donald Trump a new opening to attack his White House rival with just 15 days before their first high-pressure presidential debate.
Trump has repeatedly questioned Clinton’s health, telling supporters last month she “lacks the mental and physical stamina” to serve as president and fight ISIS.
Clinton had been seeking to bounce back from a 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 ceremony in lower Manhattan, greeting some relatives of those killed in the terror strikes 15 years ago, her campaign said in a statement. Clinton was a U.S. senator for New York at the time of the attacks.
“During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment, and is feeling much better,” the statement said.
Later, the campaign released a statement from her personal doctor, Lisa Bardack, who revealed that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia Friday and was suffering from dehydration.
“She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated,” according to Bardack.
“I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”
A video posted on Twitter showed Clinton appearing unsteady as she waited to get into a black van to leave the 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).
“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.
In 2008, Republican nominee John McCain made public more than a thousand pages of his medical history to show he was cancer-free and fit to serve as president at age 71. Neither Clinton or Trump have released anything approaching that level of detail.
Last week, Clinton had an extensive coughing fit during a Labor Day rally in Cleveland, making it difficult for her to speak for about two minutes. She drank water and took a lozenge at the podium, going on to finish her remarks.
She also struggled with a cough during a question-and-answer session with reporters aboard her campaign plane last week. She said she suffers from seasonal allergies and had increased her dosage of antihistamines.
In a campaign podcast last month, Clinton said she does yoga and walks on the treadmill to stay fit. Trump, who famously dines regularly on fast food, has said he gets most of his exercise from playing golf and speaking at a podium during his campaign rallies. He plans to discuss his health regimen this week during an appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show.”