Hillary Clinton struggled to get through a Labor Day rally in Cleveland Monday, completely unable to speak through a coughing fit that lasted several minutes.
The Democratic nominee tried to joke away the flap by blaming an allergy to Republican Donald Trump. The fit that interrupted her speech followed an earlier meeting with reporters on Clinton’s campaign plane that was abruptly put to an end by uncontrollable coughing.
“[Clinton] must be allergic to media. Finally spent a minute w/ them. Hillary Has A Nearly 2 Minute Long Coughing Fit.”
It is not the first time that coughing fits have interrupted Clinton on the campaign trail and reignited speculation about her health. She had a fit during a February speech about race in Harlem, New York, and also got choked up in Iowa during a January address to the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.
Concerns over her fitness for the highest office in the land surged last week when the FBI released notes from its interview with Clinton showing that the former secretary of state cited a 2012 concussion as the reason she had difficulty remembering certain details surrounding her use of a private email server to handle classified and confidential material.
On Monday, the coughing began as soon as she took the stage to wish Ohio a “happy, happy Labor Day.”
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In a hoarse voice, she thanked Rep. Marcia Fudge for hosting the event and then drank from a glass of water at the podium after devolving into another bout of coughing.
The sympathetic crowd tried to help out, chanting, “Hillary! Hillary!”
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But the coughing did not stop.
“I’ve been talking so much,” she said.
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More coughing, as Clinton tapped her chest.
“Every time I talk about Trump, I get allergic,” she said.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway shot back on Twitter: “Must be allergic to media. Finally spent a minute w/ them. Hillary Has A Nearly 2 Minute Long Coughing Fit.”
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Clinton struggled to tell the crowd that there are 63 more days in the campaign, reaching for the water again. She praised her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, and thanked Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and several other members of Congress.
“And I hope, I hope, Ohio will send Ted Strickland to the Senate,” she said in a strained voice.
Clinton noted that behind her were labor leaders who are “always fighting for working families.”
Eventually, Clinton got the coughing under control and finished the speech, although her voice remained hoarse. But that did not prevent #HackingHillary from trending on Twitter.
After the event, campaign aides attributed it to allergies, according to CNN.