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President Trump loves to yell about “fake news,” but don’t expect him to call out his favorite news channel for pedaling it again: At least two Fox News personalities are now openly pushing conspiracy theories about Joe Biden’s physical health.
As first reported by the Daily Beast, Fox’s Sean Hannity and Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery (known mononymously as Kennedy) have both speculated that the current 2020 Democratic front-runner is secretly dealing with health issues, an echo of the constant conspiracy theories that surrounded Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. It just so happens that Trump is polling behind Biden in key states.
The first time we heard the phony Biden speculation came in May, when Kennedy likened the former vice president to “Hillary Clinton having a lumpy overcoat in 85-degree weather.” That popular 2016 conspiracy theory regarding an apparent lump on Clinton’s jacket speculated that it was a defibrillator.
“He is much more like Hillary Clinton, because if you talk to Democrats, who are working for different campaigns, all of the aggressive gossip whisperers—and this is where the action is happening in terms of opposition research—it’s people having a few drinks at a bar and whispering, ‘You know there’s something wrong with the former vice president,’” Kennedy said. “But that’s what they are actively doing right now. And it is surprising because they are concerned with taking Biden down and getting their candidate out there.”
This month, Kennedy also suggested that Bernie Sanders’ assertion that there was a lack of enthusiasm around Biden’s candidacy was actually a comment about his health.
“You go, ‘You know we haven’t seen Joe a lot. Maybe he has hidden health issues, is always wearing an overcoat,’” she said.
Separately, Sean Hannity — who also stirred up rumors about Hillary Clinton’s health in the 2016 election — suggested last week that the Democratic Party was “hiding” Biden, who’s 76.
“Joe Biden’s tired,” Hannity said. “He does not have the energy for this. He’s not up for this challenge. They’re already hiding him like they hid Hillary. They don’t want him out there.”
A Fox News spokeswoman declined to give an on-the-record statement to VICE News about why the network was allowing this behavior from its hosts. For his part, Biden’s team dismissed the speculation about his health as “baseless lies meant to stoke fear,” according to the Daily Beast.
News networks that aren’t so right-wing, such as CNN and MSNBC, are known to sometimes speculate about President Trump’s mental health. In 2017, for example, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that people close to Trump said the president exhibited signs of dementia. Their speculation, however, usually stops short of pondering whether Trump is about to drop dead.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Human Rights Campaign Columbus, Ohio Dinner at Ohio State University Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)