Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail Thursday after taking a few days off to recover from pneumonia, and while she addressed questions about why she didn’t reveal the diagnosis sooner, she didn’t specify when she told her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, about her illness.
The Democratic presidential nominee spoke in the battleground state of North Carolina and talked about her reluctance to take time off the trail while she was sick.
“I have to say, it’s great to be back on the campaign trail,” Clinton said after walking onstage to the song “I Feel Good.” “As you may know, I recently had a cough that turned out to be pneumonia. I tried to power through it, but even I had to admit that maybe a few days of rest would do me good.”
She continued: “I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances, but with just two months to go until Election Day? Sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”
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Clinton said that during the three days she was off the trail, she “talked with some old friends,” spent time with her dogs, and “did some thinking.”
“You know, the campaign trail doesn’t really encourage reflection,” she said. “And it’s important to sit with your thoughts every now and then. And that did help me reconnect with what this whole campaign is about.”
Her speech was briefly interrupted by protesters, who were drowned out by chants of “Hillary! Hillary!”
She then pivoted to talking about how necessary healthcare is.
“Now, I just want to have a conversation, and other people can wave their arms and their signs, but I want you to think with me for a minute about how I certainly feel lucky when I’m under the weather I can certainly afford to take a few days off,” Clinton said. “Millions of Americans can’t. They either go to work sick or they lose a paycheck.”
In a press conference after the speech, Clinton took questions from reporters and further addressed the pneumonia diagnosis.
One reporter said it appeared that Kaine didn’t appear to be aware of her illness on Friday, when she got the diagnosis.
“My senior staff knew, and information was provided to a number of people,” Clinton said, without specifying when Kaine found out.
She continued: “Look, this was an ailment that many people just power through, and that’s what I thought I would do as well. … It didn’t work out, so I got the antibiotics up and going, got the rest that I needed, and we’re going on from there.”
Clinton also said that while she should have taken time off sooner, she thought she was going to be fine, and that “there wasn’t really any reason to make a big fuss about it.”
Clinton has been slipping in the polls since the pneumonia diagnosis, which her staff publicized on Sunday. She abruptly left a 9/11 memorial service that day after feeling “overheated,” her campaign originally said.