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Donald Trump’s campaign on Tuesday denounced Howard Dean’s suggestion that the GOP nominee was on cocaine at the presidential debate against Hillary Clinton.
During the affair Monday night at Hofstra University, Trump could be heard sniffling throughout the night.
Speculation over whether the presidential candidate was sick ran rampant on social media.
Dean, the former governor of Vermont and a Clinton supporter, took the rumors one step further by suggesting Trump’s sniffles were evidence of cocaine use.
Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) September 27, 2016
“Governor Dean’s comment was beyond the pale and has no place in our important political discussion,” the Trump campaign said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday night.
“On a night where millions of Americans were able to compare and contrast the policies of both candidates, Governor Dean went straight to the gutter and was nothing more than a sad distraction in a desperate attempt to stay relevant,” the campaign added.
After the debate, Trump denied sniffling and blamed the sounds of breathing on a defective microphone that he claimed was tampered with.
In an interview with MSNBC Tuesday, Dean defended his original comment.
“Well, you can’t make a diagnosis over the television, but [the sniffling] is a signature of people who use cocaine,” Dean said. “I’m not suggesting that Trump does, but I’m suggesting we think about it, because here’s the interesting constellation – he sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do.