Nation & World

Clinton falls ill during 9/11 memorial service in New York

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, attends a ceremony for the 15th anniversary of the attacks of the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial, in New York, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, attends a ceremony for the 15th anniversary of the attacks of the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial, in New York, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. AP

Hillary Clinton left a New York memorial service marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks early after feeling “overheated,” according to a campaign spokesman, and video of her departure showed her buckling and stumbling as she got into her van.

“Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen,” spokesman Nick Merrill said. “During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so departed to go to her daughter’s apartment and is feeling much better.”

A video circulated on Twitter appeared to show Clinton leaving the commemoration at ground zero. Flanked by several Secret Service agents who are regulars on her detail, Clinton can be seen leaning against a security bollard while agents prepare to help her into a black van. As she steps forward, Clinton can be seen stumbling and buckling as agents help lift her into the van.

One individual familiar with the incident and who knows members of the security detail confirmed that Clinton felt ill and dizzy and that she wobbled as she got in the van.

“However, all details were reporting heat-related matters/issues,” the individual said. “This is actually common and anticipated for events such as this.”

Later, shortly before noon, Clinton was seen leaving daughter Chelsea’s apartment. She waved and departed in her motorcade.

“I’m feeling great, it’s a beautiful day in New York,” Clinton said as she walked out.

Clinton’s rival, Republican Donald Trump, has for more than nine months questioned Clinton’s health, saying that she doesn’t have the “strength” or “stamina” for the presidency and accusing her of being “exhausted” and sleeping too much.

Neither Trump nor his aides responded immediately for requests for comment Sunday. But the attacks have intensified in the past month as unverified and often debunked theories about Clinton’s health have floated around the Internet.

Clinton arrived at the memorial at 8:18 am and greeted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his wife as she exited her van, according to the pool.

Reporters traveling with Clinton became aware about 9:36 a.m that she was no longer in the place where she had been standing. By 9:48 a.m., her campaign confirmed that Clinton had left the viewing area as early as 9:30 a.m.

Clinton’s daughter lives on East 26th Street, in the Gramercy neighborhood of lower Manhattan — about a 15-minute drive from ground zero.

Just before noon, it was 82 degrees and humid at ground zero, though it was probably a bit cooler when Clinton left two hours earlier. Reporters traveling with Clinton could not see her directly, but the politicians around her were all standing and packed tightly together. It was not clear if she was standing in direct sunlight, but there was not much shade anywhere at the service.

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., told MSNBC that Clinton seemed “perfectly normal” when he encountered her earlier at the ceremony. He noted that it “was incredibly stifling” at the event and several people were sweating through their clothes.

Clinton walked out of Chelsea Clinton’s apartment wearing the same dark blue suit and sunglasses she had been wearing at the memorial. She waved, smiled and paused to talk to a young child.

“Yes, thank you, very much,” Clinton responded when asked by a reporter whether she was feeling better.

Clinton has been generally healthy as an adult, with the exception of clotting in one leg in 1996 and a concussion and associated health problems from a fall in December 2012. But she has been repeatedly criticized by conservatives and accused of hiding more serious health issues.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close adviser to Trump who is regularly at his side on the campaign trail, said last month that he thinks Clinton is “tired” and “looks sick.”

“What you’ve got to do is go online,” Giuliani said on “Fox News Sunday” in late August, accusing the media of hiding information about Clinton’s health. “So, go online and put down Hillary Clinton illness, take a look at the videos for yourself.”

A coughing episode on Labor Day prompted a fresh round of questions about Clinton’s health. During a speech during a festival in Cleveland, Clinton started coughing repeatedly at the outset of her remarks, took several sips of water and a lozenge and continued to sound hoarse as she spoke. Later that day, she interrupted a question-and-answer session with reporters in the back of her plane after she started coughing. Clinton told reporters her condition was due to “seasonal allergies.”

The 2012 episode led to a brief hospitalization for a blood clot in Clinton’s head. Details on Clinton’s condition were initially hard to come by, but her State Department office eventually provided extensive medical information.

Clinton wore special corrective glasses for some months afterward, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, told an audience in 2014 that it had taken about six months for his wife to recover fully. Clinton herself has said she was surprised by the illness, because she had not experienced anything like it before.

Clinton’s campaign released a memo from her personal physician, Lisa Bardack, last summer, pronouncing the candidate healthy and suffering no lasting effects from the concussion.

The 2012 concussion caused concern among Clinton friends and supporters who hoped she would make a second run for the presidency, and some of whom predicted correctly that the episode would fuel speculation that Clinton was too frail to be commander in chief.

Her campaign dismisses any suggestion that the candidate, who is 68, is not up to the job, while suggesting that the speculation is an example of a sexist double standard not applied to male candidates.

Clinton seemed upbeat and sometimes jovial as she engaged with reporters several times on her campaign plane last week. However, as rumors have mounted about Clinton’s health in recent weeks, her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, has inserted a short section into his speeches about how much stamina she has.

During a keynote address Saturday night at a Human Rights Campaign dinner, Kaine said he is “amazed when Donald Trump makes fun of Hillary Clinton’s stamina and energy because I got added to the ticket 100 days out, and I’m already getting lapped by her.”

“I can’t imagine the stamina and energy it takes to run this campaign for 18 months,” Kaine added. “This is one determined lady.”

Sarah Dirkes, Jamie Relle, Caitlyn Cockran, and Elizabeth Ward were sitting at brunch at the Black Barn, a restaurant next door to Chelsea Clinton’s building, when they saw Hillary Clinton emerge at about 11:45 a.m.

“She looked fine,” said Ward, who was just finishing up her brunch.

“Great sunglasses,” added Dirkes.

A little girl ran up to Clinton and asked for a photo with her. The Democratic nominee obliged, and waved to other brunchers at Black Barn before getting in a car and departing.