Trump's Ramp Walk Is Newest Flashpoint

Critics pounce while supporters see media bias
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2020 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's walk down a ramp at West Point is turning into the newest flashpoint in coverage about him. Trump's defenders say the critical stories illustrate media bias, while his critics say the tentative walk raises legitimate questions about his health. Meanwhile, late-night hosts absolutely went to town on the whole situation. Coverage:

  • For starters: Watch it for yourself here. Trump tweeted that the ramp "was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery. The last thing I was going to do is 'fall' for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!"
  • Late night, I: This was a big topic Monday night on the late-night circuit. Seth Meyers: “You know, for a guy who constantly talks about how tough he is, he sure walks like a baby deer on a frozen pond,” he said. “What is wrong with him? Are we going to have to get him an Acorn Stairlift?” Jimmy Kimmel wondered if his "bone spurs were acting up," mocking the president's reason for avoiding the military draft.

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  • In defense: In the Washington Post, columnist Henry Olsen defends Trump and ridicules coverage. The ramp "has no handrail, so he slows down and walks carefully as he descends. He returns to walking perfectly normally when he is again on flat ground. I’m 58, and this is exactly how I would approach such a situation to avoid falling. This is not a story in the slightest." The whole "ramp-gate" story is not about Trump's health, it's "about how unhealthy media coverage of Trump has become," he writes.
  • Counterpoint: At CNN, Chris Cillizza argues that it is a legit story because Trump frequently mocks the physical and mental health of his opponents. If "there is a moment where he looks frail, it is absolutely fair game to ask questions about his own well-being—particularly given his age (74) and how little we know about his medical past."
  • Late night II: Jimmy Fallon told as many jokes as he could in the time it took Trump to descend the ramp, including, "He was just doing an impression of his approval rating" and "that was still faster than his response to the coronavirus." Stephen Colbert opened with a fake sports broadcast of "daredevil Donald" taking the "precipitous 4.8-degree slope" and "attacking the slope with a precise shuffle." Later, Colbert referenced Trump's famous ascent down an escalator to launch his 2016 campaign and said it made sense now. “If it had been a ramp, he’d still be coming down."
  • In defense: In a Fox News interview, daughter-in-law Lara Trump defended the president, per HuffPo. “This was a ramp that had no steps, no handrail,” she said. “The president had on leather shoes, of course, he’s going to take his time.” And the publisher of the Federalist, Ben Domenech, adds: "Any man who has ever worn a suit that is too tight in the elbow has encountered this issue. Idiocy." Others say the mainstream media didn't cover comparable slip-ups from Hillary Clinton and former President Obama with as much scrutiny, per Fox News.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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