NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton abruptly left a 9/11 anniversary ceremony Sunday morning after feeling "overheated," according to her campaign. A video shows the Democratic presidential nominee slumping and being held up by three people as she was helped into a van.
Less than two months from Election Day, it was an unwanted visual for Clinton as she tries to project the strength and vigor needed for one of the world's most demanding jobs. Republican rival Donald Trump has spent months questioning Clinton's health, saying she doesn't have the stamina to be president.
Clinton was taken from the Sept. 11 ceremony in lower Manhattan to her daughter's nearby apartment. She spent the rest of the morning there and then walked out on her own, saying "I'm feeling great."
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement that Clinton, who had spent 90 minutes at the event, was "feeling much better" afterward. But he offered no additional details, including whether the 68-year-old Clinton required medical attention.
A senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the matter said that Clinton, after leaving the memorial plaza, was observed "fainting" in a departure area. That official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to disclose information publicly.
Video taken at the scene and posted on social media showed Clinton being held up by three people. She staggered and appears to trip on a curb as they helped her into a vehicle.
Clinton's departure from the event was not witnessed by the reporters who travel with her campaign. For more than an hour, her aides did not offer any information about why she left and where she was.
Upon walking out of daughter Chelsea Clinton's apartment, the candidate said, "It's a beautiful day in New York." She waved and posed for a photo with a young girl before getting into her motorcade which took her to her home in Chappaqua, New York.
The incident, less than two months before the Nov. 8 election, compounds an already difficult stretch for Clinton. Despite Trump's numerous missteps, the White House race remains close and the public continues to view Clinton has dishonest and untrustworthy.
On Friday, Clinton told donors that "half" of Trump's supporters are in a "bucket of deplorables" — a comment that drew sharp criticism from Republicans. Clinton later said she regretted applying that description to "half" of his backers, but stuck by her assertion that the GOP nominee has given a platform to "hateful views and voices."
For months, Trump's supporters have tried to make the case that Clinton is physically unfit for the White House, citing a concussion she sustained in December 2012 after fainting. Her doctor attributed that episode to a stomach virus and dehydration.
Clinton's doctor reported she is fully recovered from the concussion, which led to temporary double vision and discovery of a blood clot in a vein in the space between her brain and skull. Clinton also has experienced deep vein thrombosis, a clot usually in the leg, and takes the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent new clots.
Trump attended the same memorial service at ground zero, along with New York's Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. It was warm and humid, and there was a breeze.
Asked after the event about Clinton's health incident, Trump said, "I don't know anything about it."
Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said he spent time before the ceremony chatting with Clinton and watching her sign autographs and take pictures. He said he was standing behind her during the remembrance and "she did not seem out of the ordinary at all."
"It was stiflingly hot. I was sweating through my shirt," Crowley said. "I had to leave myself. I drank about a gallon of water."
Neither Trump nor Clinton spoke at the event, in keeping with the solemn nature of the annual remembrance of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.
Trump's personal physician has said Trump is in excellent physical and mental health. But the 70-year-old has refused to release his own health records.
Dr. Harold Bornstein's report last December remains the only medical information released so far by the Trump campaign. Bornstein told NBC News he needed just five minutes to write a glowing public assessment of Trump's health as a limousine waited to carry the letter back to Trump.
Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Tom Hays and Michael Balsamo, and AP writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.
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