Donald Trump suggested on Saturday that Hillary Clinton might have taken performance-enhancing drugs to prepare for their presidential debates, and that both candidates for president should be tested before Wednesday’s final debate, reports The Guardian.
“We’re like athletes,” the Republican nominee told a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “They make them take a drug test. I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. I think we should – why don’t we do that?”
Trump continued: “We should take a drug test prior because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate she was all pumped up at the beginning and at the end if was, ‘Huh, take me down.’ She could barely reach her car. So I think we should take a drug test. Anyway, I’m willing to do it.”
Trump’s campaign has previously criticized the media for taking his rally statements literally, for instance saying that the candidate was being “sarcastic” when he said Barack Obama “founded” Isis. Aides have yet to say whether he was speaking tongue in cheek.
The health of both candidates has been under scrutiny in the final months of the grueling 2016 campaign. Clinton was slow to reveal a bout of pneumonia, which her campaign only revealed after she made a premature departure from an 11 September memorial service in New York.
Trump’s repeated sniffling during the first two debates has also drawn attention, and Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, was forced to apologize for tweeting a suggestion that it could be due to cocaine use.
The Trump campaign did not respond to questions about what drugs the candidate was suggesting could have been used to enhance Clinton’s debate performance.
A pro-Trump Super Pac, run by millionaire donor Robert Mercer, released an ad earlier this month questioning Clinton’s health. “If athletes need to be tested for drugs for the biggest race of their lives,” the ad says, “shouldn’t candidates be tested for the biggest race of yours?”
With his campaign in a tailspin after several women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, Trump began Saturday with another barrage of tweets that have become a hallmark of his campaign. In them, he alleged that the election was rigged and suggested that a loss on November 8 would be illegitimate.
The Republican nominee has repeatedly suggested that the election is “rigged” over the past few months and warned of voter fraud, without any evidence. Since August, Trump has stirred conspiracy theories in the swing state of Pennsylvania,warning of fraud in “certain areas”, such as Philadelphia, a diverse but majority black city. He has also echoed a 2012 conspiracy theory that Mitt Romney fell victim to voter fraud in the city that year, because he did not receive a single vote in 59 precincts in African American neighborhoods. There are 1,687 precincts in the city and Obama received more than 85% of the vote there in 2012.
Trump picked up the theme during his rally in New Hampshire, scene of his first victory in the Republican primary campaign.
The businessman has been widely condemned by members of both parties for seeking to undermine the legitimacy of the election. But introducing Trump on Saturday, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions fueled the fire. “They are attempting to rig this election,” he said, shaking his fists. “They will not succeed.”
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, denounced the claim. “Campaigns should be hard-fought and elections hard-won, but what is fundamental about the American electoral system is that it is free, fair and open to the people,” he said. “Participation in the system – and particularly voting – should be encouraged, not dismissed or undermined because a candidate is afraid he’s going to lose.”