Washington (AFP) – As US President Donald Trump turns 74 on Sunday, an incident a day earlier in which he appeared unsteady on his feet has revived questions about his health as he heads into a grueling re-election campaign.
Scrutiny of a president’s health is always intense, and Trump has generally appeared vigorous for his age. Results of a routine physical released early this month showed he was overweight — 244 pounds (110 kilograms) — but with otherwise normal test results.
But his appearance Saturday at the US military academy in West Point, New York raised new questions about apparent signs of unsteadiness, balance problems and trouble enunciating certain words.
Since Trump has regularly mocked the health and acuity of his presumptive election opponent, Democrat Joe Biden — who is three years his senior — the question of physical fitness could weigh heavily in the campaign ahead.
After a widely circulated video on Saturday showed Trump walking tentatively and unsteadily down a long ramp after delivering a commencement speech at West Point, he took to Twitter to issue an explanation.
“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” Trump said.
“The last thing I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!”
Reporters at the scene said the weather was dry and the ramp not particularly steep.