Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a one-time presidential contender and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is defending a tweet he published Monday night suggesting Donald Trump might be a "coke user" because of his frequent sniffing during the presidential debate with Hillary Clinton.
The Republican presidential nominee did sniffle frequently throughout the event, which led many social media users to sound off on the development, even trending the hashtag #TrumpSniffle.
Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) September 27, 2016
While Dean, a medical doctor, said in an interview on MSNBC Tuesday that he was not suggesting Trump might have a cocaine addiction, he seemed to go on to do just that.
"Well, you can't make a diagnosis over the television, I would never do that, but he has some interesting — [sniffling] is actually a signature of people who use cocaine," Dean said. "[H]ere's the interesting consolation: He sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do."
[Trump] also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem. He has delusions — I'm not talking about being crazy, but, for example, when he told everybody it was smart not to pay taxes, then denied he said it after he said it in front of 100 million people. It's not that he's delusionary about it. It's that he thinks somehow he's not going to get caught. That is delusional.
He has trouble with pressured speech. He interrupted Hillary Clinton 29 times. He couldn't keep himself together. So, look, do I think at 70 years old he has a cocaine habit, probably not. But it's something that I think would be interesting to ask him to see if he ever had a problem with that.
The MSNBC host then pressed Dean on his apparent assertion, which he repeatedly said is not an assertion, drawing parallels between the suggestion that Trump might use cocaine and questions regarding Clinton's health.
"This is reminding me a lot, sir, of Rudy Giuliani a few weeks ago raising ... different questions about medical history on your candidate, Hillary Clinton. To which your campaign responded, 'This is inappropriate. We shouldn't be raising questions about Hillary Clinton's health with absolutely no substance or proof.' You don't see the parallel?" the anchor asked.
Dean pivoted to the fact that Trump has not yet released his tax returns before claiming that Clinton has released a comprehensive medical report while the billionaire businessman has not done the same.
He again mentioned that "something funny" was going on with Trump, alluding to his earlier suggestion that Trump might have a cocaine habit, but then repeated that he does not offer diagnoses on television because it's "medically improper."
In the end, Dean admitted that it is unlikely Trump has an addiction to cocaine, but then rehashed the symptoms that are commonly associated with such an addiction.
See Dean's comments below:
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