Somewhat lost in the pre-debate circus orchestrated by Donald Trump’s campaign is the deeply weird suggestion he made on Saturday that he and Hillary Clinton should be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.
The idea made sense, Trump claimed, because presidential candidates “are like athletes,” in some unexplained way, and athletes these days need to prove that they are not using medication to gain an unfair advantage.
Speaking in New Hampshire, Trump suggested that a drug test was necessary because he suspected that Clinton was preparing for the debate by “getting pumped up for Wednesday night.”
He went on to say that “we should take a drug test prior to the debate … because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like … she could barely reach her car.”
Leaving aside Trump’s odd take on the previous debate — perhaps Clinton simply tired of him yelling at her for 90 minutes — where did his bizarre concept of a pre-debate drug test come from?
It turns out that the idea has been something of a meme among Trump’s alt-right supporters all year, playing on the fabricated notion that Clinton is suffering from some serious illness.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, suggestions that Clinton must be somehow using drugs to enhance her performance seem to spike every time she gets a boost in the polls after a convincing public appearance, such as her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, and her obliteration of Trump in the first debate.
The idea is so engrained in the alternative universe around Trump’s campaign, in fact, that a pro-Trump Super PAC even produced a television commercial on the theme a week before the candidate introduced it into his act in New Hampshire.