The internet has been scratching their heads trying to figure out why former U.S. President Donald Trump has red sores, splotches, or marks on his hands in a photograph taken in late January.
Last month, photos surfaced of Trump with red marks on his hands as he waved to the cameras after leaving Trump Tower in New York City. Trump was heading to court for his second defamation trial in which he has been accused of sexually assaulting E. Jean Carrol. He would ultimately be ordered to pay $83 million.
The next day and following days, photographs show no evidence of "sores" or marks on his hands. However, that didn't stop X from creating the trending #SyphilisDon hashtag.
Mark Meredith from Fox News asked about the photographs on Wednesday amidst online speculation. Trump responded, "Nothing. Maybe it was AI."
At the end of the Teamsters news conference, I asked Trump about those recent photos in NY of his hands not looking so great...he had a joke ready to go... pic.twitter.com/3o2A9PnqElundefined Mark Meredith (@markpmeredith) January 31, 2024
In general, with the election coming up, Americans have wondered about Trump's health. However, last year, a medical report claimed he was in "excellent health."
Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, has questioned his mental capacity to take on the presidency after he confused her with Nancy Pelosi. "The concern I have is – I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it," said Haley to New Hampshire voters.
Blood, sharpie, or syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) where small sores or ulcers appear around the genitals or mouth. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel noted that Trump once said avoiding STDs was his "personal Vietnam."
Kimmel joked and said, "But if he has syphilis, that would mean the only Vietnam he avoided was Vietnam."
Afterward, Kimmel played a video that showed the symptoms of syphilis compared to Trump's. (Note: Kimmel is not a doctor).
Democratic political consultant James Carville said in a video blog for Politicon that several MDs had confirmed that these are signs of secondary syphilis. Other sources say it could be blood from playing golf, or ketchup from lunch.
Symptoms of syphilis stages
The stages of syphilis occur in four phases: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Each stage has different symptoms.
Primary syphilis includes small, painless sores.
Secondary syphilis includes blotchy red rashes that appear on the hands or feet. White patches around the mouth, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and swollen glands occur as well.
Latent syphilis can last for several years and has no symptoms.
Tertiary syphilis is rare, however, when it does occur it impacts the heart, brain, and nervous system. It can occur 10 to 30 years after infection and can result in death.
Syphilis cases in the United States are surging, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with an 80% increase that is the largest in decades. Congenital syphilis, which is when an infant acquires the infection, has increased by 937%. Babies born with the infection due to untreated syphilis in the mother are 40% stillborn.
Treatment for syphilis includes injections of penicillin for primary, secondary, and latent syphilis. For patients allergic to penicillin, doxycycline is another form of treatment. It is a totally curable infection but it's essential to get tested regularly.
While syphilis is a very rampant and real concern, Trump's hand mark mystery may never be revealed to the public. Some folks — including Kimmel — think it's just ketchup or Sharpie, not syphilis. And for now, Trump's sticking with his AI theory, leaving the American public with no answers.
Overall, the topic of health is right front and center on everyone's minds. As the road to the White House is in full swing, Healthnews is considering the importance of healthcare and future presidential candidates. We recently dove into their current statements regarding healthcare for the American people.