President Trump delivered his rebuttal Saturday night after recent media speculation about his health following his appearance at a U.S. Military Academy commencement ceremony earlier this month.
“These people are sick, the fake news,” Trump told a Tulsa, Okla., rally crowd, referring to various reports that addressed his age and raised concerns about the way he handled a glass of water and walked down a ramp when he spoke to graduating Army cadets at West Point, N.Y., on June 13.
Trump, who turned 74 one day after the West Point visit, explained it was a hot day and he was exhausted after saluting “600 cadets,” adding he later found himself in a precarious situation due to the fact that he was wearing leather-bottomed shoes and the ramp he had to use to exit the stage was long and steep.
The president also said the reason he appeared to have difficulty lifting his arm to drink water was because he “just saluted 600 times.”
Trump proceeded to show the crowd at his rally that he was capable of drinking from a glass of water, before throwing the glass to the floor as the crowd cheered.
“General, there is no way I can make it down that ramp without falling on my a–… I have no railing,” Trump also told the crowd, drawing laughs, as he referred to his walk down the ramp.
Trump also said he walked carefully because he didn’t want news channels to show a slow-motion replay of him taking a tumble. He referenced how the media in the past showed footage of former President Gerald Ford slipping on the last few steps while exiting Air Force One, and showed former President George H. W. Bush when he became ill during a dinner in Japan.
“I can’t fall with the fake news watching,” Trump said.
“It turned out to be worst than anything,” Trump added. “It would have been better if I fell and slid down the damn ramp.”
Trump proceeded to describe how he inched his way down the ramp and then the “fake news media” cut it off before showing him running the rest of the way. “I took these little steps, I ran down the last 10 and — by the way, their tape, take a look, in almost every instance it ends just before I run.”
Trump then referred to a conversation he had with first lady Melania Trump, who reportedly informed him he was trending on Twitter, and that some commenters speculated he may have Parkinson’s disease.
“I’ll tell you if there’s something wrong with me,” Trump told the Tulsa crowd before adding: “I’ll tell you what, there’s something wrong with [Joe] Biden — that I can tell.”