Written by Joshua Samuel and Edited by Stephanie Velazquez
York College Professors and Students share opinions based on the recent news stories about the age and health of the presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump is 70 years old and if elected, he will be the oldest person to be president. The possible issues of Trump’s age were overshadowed in the media by Clinton’s health problems even though she is only two years younger.
According to an New York Times article, Clinton had to leave a September 11th memorial service early due to her being dehydrated and suffering from pneumonia. This resulted in news stories examining what is the true nature of her health and leaving some voters confused about why Clinton was so secretive and withheld her diagnosis from the public.
York College Political Science Professor, Dr. Michael Sharpe, went into detail on why he said that Clinton is at a disadvantage from her sickness just now going public. He explained, “Clinton’s campaign is hurting itself by not being transparent. Americans don’t really trust her. Both candidates are not the most favorable, but her revealing her sickness makes it worse. It was a blunder to not disclose her sickness earlier.”
However, some say Clinton will still succeed and did the right thing by disclosing her sickness. Movement Science Major Tochukwu Ogwuegbu, 29, said, “I think America will forgive Clinton for not revealing her illness earlier. We all make mistakes. In the end, she still admitted her illness and that can help her build trust.”
The extensive coverage of Clinton’s pneumonia has worried potential voters as they aren’t exactly sure how serious her illness is. Occupational Therapy Major Tristian Paor, 18, is voting for the first time this year and was shocked to hear the news about Clinton. Paor said, “The media made me wonder if she was dying or something but after hearing what pneumonia was, I don’t think it’s as bad.”
York College Political Science Professor, Robin Harper added, “People are focusing so much on Clinton having pneumonia when she is as human as everyone else. People get sick. People are saying that she’s passed out but when you watch the video, she didn’t hit the ground. Her knees just buckled.”
Trump is also using Clinton’s latest health situation to his advantage as the media is focusing squarely on her health instead of his. Sharpe said, “The media is so bombarded with Trump’s shenanigans that he has not been held under the same scrutiny as Clinton about his health.”
Ogwuegbu feels the media’s focus may be based on Clinton’s gender. He said, “The media is biased toward Clinton since she is more likely to win. They are trying to bring her down. She is trying to be the first female president and many men at the top are jealous and have attitudes because of it.”
Although Trump has been sharing his health information and reported to be in excellent condition, certain details were omitted from the reports like the condition of his kidneys. Trump has appeared on the Dr. Oz show and showed a one-page report to the doctor and his studio audience.
Ogwuegbu said, “I think Trump is hiding things from the public. The way he doesn’t fully admit or prove whether he pays his taxes makes me think he keeps secrets about his health as well.”
Trump realizes Clinton’s health could be a way to turn potential voters towards him if Clinton is not healthy enough to be a viable candidate. Sharpe said, “Trump’s campaign is trying to exploit Hillary Clinton having pneumonia and trying to make it bigger than it is.”
Harper added, “Trump is the one who is shaping the conversation about health. People believed that Clinton was healthy and ignored his claims that she was too sick to be president. Now she has revealed her diagnosis, people are thinking Trump was right and wonder what else she could be hiding.”
Age, however is another story as history shows that the oldest presidents have potential to lead full terms and be successful at being presidents without any problems. Sharpe said, “Ronald Reagan lived to 92 and had Alzheimer’s disease at the end of his life. He was one of America’s most notable Presidents and he was a very old man. Age doesn’t matter as much as some people would think.”
Harper added, “I think an older president would have more perspective than a younger one would. It’s a positive thing to have a president who can represent the needs of older generations as well as the current one.”
Ogwuegbu had a differing opinion saying, “I think it would be a major problem having an older president in office. I think the president would most likely have a lack of energy, feel weak and overall won’t feel as lively as a younger president would.”
Although the candidates’ age and health are both highly discussed topics, they don’t always have to affect each other. Harper said, “A person could be 70 years old and in the best shape of their lives. A person could be 25 and be weak, and sickly. It varies by the individual and only time will tell if the age and health of these two candidates will matter.”