Chelsea Clinton Says She Didn’t Initially Know Her Mom Had Pneumonia Because She Was Trying to Power Through It

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Chelsea Clinton.Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

There’s been no shortage of criticisms levied against Hillary Clinton this campaign season, and chief among them is the whole issue of whether or not she’s “trustworthy.” Which, regardless of your political leanings, by now it has become so associated with her character that you’re just as likely as not to know that “untrustworthy” is on the lips of many voters and pundits when invoking Clinton’s name. That issue came to the forefront again (albeit in a more hysterical manner) when panic ensued regarding Clinton’s health after her literal trip-up on September 11 and the subsequent news that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia days earlier. Critics cried foul and pointed to conspiracy theories about her health, while even supporters and reporters scratched their heads in frustration, wondering, “Why had she not told everyone sooner?”

But, part of it really might have simply been due to the fact that Clinton thought she could power through it all. At least, that’s what daughter Chelsea Clinton told Cosmopolitan in a Q&A interview on Tuesday. Asked by Prachi Gupta about the episode and her mom’s problem gaining voters’ trust, Chelsea said she wasn’t even aware that her mom had pneumonia. She found out, she said, when her mom arrived at her apartment after the September 11 memorial event. “I think she just expected she would power through it as she has always powered through everything,” Chelsea told Cosmopolitan. “As her daughter, I wish she would have listened to her doctor and taken a couple days off when her doctor told her she needed to get some rest, and I’m grateful she did finally listen to her doctor and she took a couple days off.”

Imagine that. A woman trying to power through an illness to get to work.

Here’s the exchange in full:

One of your mom’s biggest hurdles with younger voters is gaining their trust. Why do you think she did not tell voters sooner that she had pneumonia?

Well, I didn’t know that she had pneumonia. I didn’t know she had pneumonia until she came over to my apartment. So I don’t think it was a conscious choice. I mean, she didn’t even tell me. I think she just expected she would power through it as she has always powered through everything. As her daughter, I wish she would have listened to her doctor and taken a couple days off when her doctor told her she needed to get some rest, and I’m grateful she did finally listen to her doctor and she took a couple days off. And I think it was clear last night that she is — you know, she certainly looks healthier at her age than I feel at 36 at this moment. I loved her answer about stamina, and yes, I think when anyone has traveled to 112 countries and a million miles, and sat through 11 hours of congressional hearings all in one day, they can then kind of have that conversation with my mom. But until then, I think that she wins that argument any and every day.