Speed Reads

'trump is not well'

New Lincoln Project ad controversially questions Trump's health

The Lincoln Project released its latest ad against President Trump on Tuesday, a 45 second spot focusing on his health that begins with a woman intoning, "Something's wrong with Donald Trump."

The Lincoln Project is a political action committee formed by current and ex-Republicans who don't want to see Trump re-elected. Their previous ads have broached topics Trump is sensitive about, including the crowd size at his inauguration and how he "dodged the draft" during the Vietnam War.

This new ad delivers the deepest gut punch yet. Titled "#TrumpIsNotWell," it features a montage of Trump seemingly struggling with drinking a glass of water and walking down a ramp, as well as footage of him going up the stairs to Air Force One with what appears to be toilet paper under his shoe. The narrator calls Trump "shaky" and "weak," and says White House reporters should be covering Trump's "secretive midnight run to Walter Reed Medical Center." It's clear to everyone, the ad concludes, that now is the time "we talk about this: Trump is not well."

Some people have argued that because Trump has mocked a disabled reporter and calls former Vice President Joe Biden "Sleepy Joe," frequently intimating he is cognitively impaired, Trump's own health is fair game and people should speculate away. Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the liberal Center for American Progress, disagrees. In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Tuesday, Cokley wrote that when people who do not have medical degrees diagnose Trump with various health issues, it hurts those who are actually disabled.

"Every single professional with a disability I know has been questioned privately and publicly about whether their 'condition' hinders their ability to do their job," Cokley said. "This is a universal truth and fear for any individual across physical, mental, intellectual, sensory, and chronic illness communities." A person's ability to "use a ramp or drink from a glass of water has no bearing on whether someone can fulfill the essential functions of a job," she added, and instead, the focus should be on Trump's policies and actions while in office. "The ableism that pervades society makes it easy to argue that someone is a failure because they're disabled, not because they're evil, unethical, and unqualified," Cokley said. Catherine Garcia