Mr Trump, who turned 74 on Sunday, sparked revived questions over his physical state as he heads into a gruelling re-election campaign against opponent Joe Biden – his senior by three years – in November. Scrutiny of the President’s health is always intense, and Mr Trump has generally appeared vigorous for his age, but on Saturday, at the US military academy in West Point, questions were raised over signs of unsteadiness, balance problems and troubles enunciating certain words.
After a widely-shared video showed Mr Trump walking tentatively down a long ramp after delivering his speech, he took to Twitter to offer an explanation, stating: “The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long and steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery.”
“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!”
The latest performance comes following repeated speculation over his health, particularly by political critics who have claimed he is suffering from an illness such as dementia, and in 2019, he underwent an unscheduled physical exam.
The visit was not in the President’s public schedule, and no details of the tests have been released, but Mr Trump himself said he was in “very good” health afterwards.
In a statement, former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the tests were prompted by a “free weekend” in the President’s diary, and that Mr Trump remained healthy and energetic without complaints.
She added: “Further speculation beyond the extensive and honest info I put out is wholly irresponsible and dangerous for the country.”
It came 10 months after an annual exam also found him “in very good health”.
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Yale psychiatrist, Bandy Lee, wrote on Twitter in response to the video: “This is a persistent neurological sign that, combined with others, would be concerning enough to require a brain scan.”
Footage was also circulating on Twitter yesterday of former President Barack Obama walking confidently up a ramp at West Point, in what has now earned the hashtag #RampGate.
Mr Trump was due for a restful birthday on Sunday, spent at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, before returning to Washington in the afternoon.