When former President Bill Clinton, 71, spoke recently with NBC’s Craig Melvin about his affair with Monica Lewinsky twenty years ago with respect to the ever-growing “MeToo” movement, he appealed to viewers to accept his account of what happened - once and for all.
When asked if he had apologized to Ms. Lewinsky, Clinton got into a heated debate over the semantics of the word 'apology.'
When pushed by Melvin, the former president reiterated his stance that his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky did NOT constitute sexual harassment. Some people agree with what he said, others do not.
Regardless of that controversy, a more subtle aspect of the conversation - one that no one seems to be talking about - is what caught my attention.
As the former president was responding to the attacks on his integrity, he answered in his characteristic raspy voice. But, there was something very uncharacteristic about his delivery. Maybe you noticed it?
On several occasions during the interview, Mr. Clinton seemed to get tongue-tied over certain phrases, even slurring as he struggled to get the words out. And I have to say, he sounded hoarser than usual, all signs of a debilitating disease - Parkinson’s.
Say what you will about Bill Clinton’s policies, his impeachment, or his wife - for or against - it’s an undeniable fact that the man was always an eloquent speaker, communicating his ideas in a fashion reserved for very few on the public scene.
His oratory skills are legendary. That is why the difficulty he had speaking during the early-June conversation at NBC is particularly alarming.
Yet, I have seen no media coverage of it. Even more than eight months later!
Admittedly, I have not followed Hillary Clinton's husband over the past several years, so perhaps that is why the change in his communication abilities came as such a shock.
In researching for this article, I came across an article from Parkinson Life, in which they point out the unmistakable signs that they, as experts on the condition, recognize. They were responding to a speech that Mr. Clinton gave at the 2016 Democratic National Convention:
“Fresh concerns were raised over the health of Bill Clinton this week after he displayed signs of tremor during a televised speech at the Democratic National Convention. Many viewers noticed his hands visibly shaking, reigniting fears that he has Parkinson’s disease.
“The tremor, which appeared as he spoke in support of his wife Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency, fueled speculation that he was displaying a classic symptom of Parkinson’s."
In the aftermath of the high-profile speech, commentators took to Twitter to express their concern for Clinton:
“Did anyone else notice Bill Clinton's hand shaking? Has he been diagnosed with something?”
“Bill Clinton is not well...did you notice his hand shaking uncontrollably during his speech.”
“Bill Clinton has that blank stare at times like there is nobody home...I wonder if he has beginnings of Alzheimer's.”
Mr. Clinton claims to have been tested for Parkinson’s but vehemently denies having it, chalking up his troubles to aging. “I have a condition that sometimes you get with aging,” Clinton told reporters in 2013. “You may have noticed it; my hand has a little tremor when I’m tired and a lot of people do when they’re older.”
In spite of his denials and justification for his shaking hands, Americans on social media are having none of it - especially those familiar with the insidious onset of Parkinson's Disease.
"Anyone else notice the shaking hands on @billclinton? Think he's sick?”
“yes. He must have Parkinson's. Reminds me of my dad when he was about Clinton's age, and early onset started.”
“his affect is way off. Almost like dementia”
“I think it's essential tremors from bipolar medication.”
“he has essential tremors and a guilty conscience”
“I noticed it last year. He's been shaking for a very long time.”
No matter what the final diagnosis is, we hate to see someone of such stature struggling in this way, and we sincerely wish him the best. Will you join us in praying for the health of the 42nd President of the United States?
If you’d like to see the Former President’s NBC interview for yourself, watch the video, below.