Donald Trump gave an alarming performance at his Hershey, Pa, rally when he suddenly and inexplicably began slurring words. And, it wasn’t the first time.
The president is widely known for giving long rambling, off-the-cuff speeches that often lack coherence and veer off into odd directions.
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That could point to cognitive difficulties, perhaps caused by old age, but slurred speech is a far more dangerous warning sign, according to medical references.
One possible cause is known by the medical term dysarthria, an affliction often characterized by slurred or slow speech, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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“Common causes of dysarthria include nervous system (neurological) disorders such as stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, and conditions that cause facial paralysis or tongue or throat muscle weakness.
Prescription medications can also cause the same symptoms. Trump is reportedly a heavy user of Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It’s based on an amphetamine.
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Former “Apprentice” and NBC staffer Noel Casler, who is now doing stand up comedy, revealed during one of his routines that Trump is a “speed freak” who crushes Adderall pills and snorts the powder because of nervousness and difficulty reading.
“He’s a speed freak. He crushes up his Adderall and he sniffs it because he can’t read and he gets really nervous when he has to read cue cards. I’m not kidding. This is true. I had a 24-page NDA, non-disclosure agreement. I didn’t know, then, he was becoming president,” he said.
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During one speech, Trump made 60 pronounced sniffing sounds. One of the side-effects of Adderall is dry mouth, which the White House has cited as the cause of his slurred words.
But Trump’s slurred speech is not a one-off problem. It’s occurred repeatedly when he’s giving speeches. Most recently, at the Hershey rally, Trump had pronounced difficulty talking.
Trump began his speech by mispronouncing the Penn State University college mascot. He called them the “the Nittley Lions.” They’re pronounced the “Nittany Lions.”
At one point, he slurred heavily.
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Trump repeatedly insists the whistleblower's complaint about his Ukraine dealings is incorrect when in fact every key allegation in it has since been confirmed pic.twitter.com/BIpWEjoJdu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)December 11, 2019
He also slurred words two years ago during a news conference on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and had difficulty maintaining a train of thought at a rally in Baltimore.
Trump has also fumbled the words to such songs as “The National Anthem” and “God Bless America.”
Columbia University professor of linguistics John McWhorter said during an interview that Donald Trump speaks in a childish, adolescent way.
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Needless to say, Trump’s slurring has been fodder for late-night comics. Stephen Colbert even put together a blooper reel. Trump has stumbled over words like “sovereign,” “capsule,” “conducting,” “address” and “renovation,” among others.
Sometimes, simply being tired or fatigued can make it hard to think of the right words. And when you’re worried about being judged by others or feel embarrassed, you may freeze up or struggle to talk, according to online medical site WebMD.
Slurred speech along with having a numb or drooping face and feeling weak in one arm, is one of the three major signs of stroke, the site notes.
A severe migraine headache can also cause slurred words. The affliction is known as transient aphasia because it will go away when the headache subsides.
Neurological disorders, caused by stroke, brain cancer, or multiple sclerosis, are also possible causes.
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A big cause of concern is the fact that Trump’s health is unknown. He’s covered it up ever since the 2016 campaign.
His 2016 campaign medical report, released during a heated debate over his and rival Hilary Clinton’s health, was glowing. And no wonder! He wrote it himself, Harold Bornstein, his doctor of 35 years said in a 2018 interview.
Trump raised red flags last month when he was seemingly rushed to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in an unplanned visit. The White House, however, claimed the trip was part of his routine physical exam.
CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a trained physician, noted that anytime a “clinically obese” 73-year-old man with a history of heart disease goes to the hospital, it’s a serious matter.
The basic medical tests the administration claimed he underwent could have been conducted at the White House, which has a full medical clinic.
Equally disturbing was the fact that his personal doctor rode to the hospital with him in the same car. It’s never happened with previous presidents, Gupta noted.