Cokie Roberts said Monday on NPR that there were whispers by Democratic Party establishment members that Hillary Clinton may have to step aside from the race because of her health, Mediaite reports.
Clinton’s health has become the central focus of the campaign after she was forced to leave Sunday’s Sept. 11 memorial in New York and was taped almost collapsing and getting helped into a van. Her campaign later revealed she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, leading to criticism for keeping the illness secret for two days.
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"People are angry at the lack of transparency," Roberts said on Morning Edition. "It was hours before the pneumonia diagnosis was revealed, after seeing this incredibly damaging video of her being helped and stumbling into a van. And look, there’s a reason why the campaign’s not transparent. Obviously, it gives Trump ammunition."
Roberts said Donald Trump had set this storyline up for months with his references to Clinton’s lack of stamina, saying that he knew she would eventually fall victim to exhaustion or illness.
"The fact that it comes now, when the polls are tightening and Democrats were already saying Hillary was the only candidate who could not beat Trump, and it’s taking her off the campaign trail … it has them very nervously beginning to whisper about having her step aside and finding another candidate," she said.
Called out by the host for making such a strong statement, Roberts said it was unlikely to be real and probably "an overreaction of an already skittish party."
"But they have looked at what happens in that circumstance, and the Democratic National Committee chair convenes the committee, and they vote," Roberts said.
Ironically, she said, Vice President Joe Biden, a possible replacement option, is older than Clinton. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who ran a tight race with Clinton for the Democratic nomination, is also older than her.