A screenshot of the moment was captured by The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans, who shared the photo to their 2.5 million followers on Twitter. They captioned the view, “That poor podium.”
Another viewer commenting on the wide shot of the president tweeted, “yanno, I noticed Trump was slouching a little bit… and then they cut to this view. I’m gonna go ahead and assume it’s because he’s literally resting on his stomach?”
Many of the tweets shared on Thursday evening were in reference to Trump’s weight. According to a memo by the president’s physician Dr. Sean P. Conley, Trump weighed 243 pounds in February 2019, a 4-pound gain since 2018. In June 2020, ABC News reported that Trump weighed in at 244 pounds.
Other people on Twitter wondered if he was leaning so heavily on the podium because he needed help “to hold himself up.” One Twitter used said, “#Debates2020 What the f*** is Trump doing? Leaning on his gut? Or does it just spill over the podium naturally?”
The debate on Thursday night was supposed to be the third time that Trump faced off against former Vice President Joe Biden before Election Day. However, following Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and disagreements on how to execute a virtual debate, the second debate was canceled.
Twitter Users Compared Trump’s Lean on the Podium to Michael Jackson’s Signature Move in ‘Smooth Criminal’
Some Twitter users compared Trump leaning on the podium with Michael Jackon’s famous lean in his music video for “Smooth Criminal.”
One person said, “It’s been over a decade since I’ve taken a geometry class so I forgot which one was which… Was Trump leaning into his podium at an acute or obtuse angle? #DebateTonight.”
Some Viewers Were Concerned for Trump’s Health & Thought He May Be Using the Podium as a Crutch
Thursday night was the president’s first debate since testing positive for COVID-19, and there’s was continued concern for his health after he appeared to use the podium as a crutch. According to the CDC, “Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications” from the novel coronavirus.
Due to the president’s age of 74 and his obesity, he was considered a high-risk patient.
After being released from Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump gave his first public speech on October 10. However, the speaking event was over after only 17 minutes, prompting many Twitter users to speculate about the president’s health.
However, with only 12 days left until Election Day, Trump has ramped up his efforts on the campaign trail and has been moving full-steam ahead with rallies across the nation, including over the past week in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona. On Thursday night, Trump appeared energetic and didn’t show outward signs that he was still suffering from the effects of COVID-19.