Donald Trump has proven throughout the course of his presidential campaign that he is not opposed to making personal attacks on his fellow candidates.
Now, many believe that the real estate mogul has crossed the line by offending those who suffer from a chronic medical condition.
According to Stat, Trump has gone out of his way in recent weeks to remark on the “sweaty tendencies” of Republican candidate Marco Rubio. The two traded verbal barbs leading up to Super Tuesday, and Trump is pulling out all the stops to protect his comfortable lead in the polls.
While Trump may think he’s merely being cheeky, his comments have offended an entire community of people who suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis, characterized by excessive sweating. The controversial businessman has not shied away from the topic, mentioning it several times since he began running for president.
“I like Marco, but Marco has a tendency to sweat. Perhaps at a record-setting level,” Trump said last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“They said to Marco Rubio, ‘Are you having fun?’ He’s sweating like a pig,” Trump said during a rally in Norcross, GA, in the fall. “I never saw a guy sweat like this. The sweat is pouring down.”
According to SweatBlock.com, approximately 211 million people around the world suffer from hyperhidrosis, accounting for 3% of the total population.
Lisa J. Pieretti, executive director of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, believes that Trump’s comments mirror those of schoolyard bullies who pick on other children for things that they cannot control.
“It reminds me of so many sufferers who get bullied in school,” said Pieretti. “It’s debilitating how embarrassed someone is when they have this.”
Hyperhidrosis is a harrowing condition, often striking first during adolescence. Excessive sweating can even be a sign of serious conditions like cancer and diabetes, which is why experts strongly encourage sufferers to seek treatment as soon as possible.
“While Trump’s intended target was only Marco Rubio, he is really making fun of a prevalent medical condition that has devastating social and psychological effects on sufferers of hyperhidrosis,” said Christopher J. Ligi, Director of Sales, Hidrex USA. “I have seen and heard firsthand from sufferers how hyperhidrosis affects every aspect of their life, which makes the fact that we offer a solution for them all the more rewarding for me personally. While an individual cannot know about every medical condition that exists, by now Trump is aware of hyperhidrosis, and should make amends to help, rather than torment, the seven to nine million Americans that are afflicted with this condition. A donation to a hyperhidrosis advocacy organization such as the nonprofit International Hyperhidrosis Society would be a great start.”
Despite Trump’s needling, there is little to no evidence suggesting that Marco Rubio actually suffers from hyperhidrosis. Rubio’s spokesman declined to comment, and doctors have said that the senator’s tendency to sweat is likely the result of wearing a suit and tie in the Florida heat.
However, most people feel as if Rubio’s actual condition (or lack thereof) is inconsequential. Additionally, Rubio publicly announcing that he does not have an excessive sweating condition would not make Trump’s insults any more palatable.
It remains to be seen if this controversy will hurt Trump in the long run, but thus far, his antics have only buoyed him in the polls.