HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Donald Trump has a cold. Or at least something gave him the sniffles.
The Republican nominee sniffled very loudly throughout much of the first general election debate Monday, eliciting a slew of comments and jokes on social media.
The hashtag #sniffle quickly become popular on Twitter, while some compared the audible breathing, or loud sniffing, to Al Gore's sighing from the 2000 presidential debate. One Hillary Clinton supporter, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, took it one step further, posting on Twitter: "Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?''
— Aaron Wolf (@TheAaronWolf) September 27, 2016
— Woody (@ubadojw1) September 27, 2016
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Republican nominee's health or Dean's question. Clinton did not bring it up during the debate.
But in an interview with "Fox & Friends" Tuesday, Trump denied the existence of "sniffles" and said he didn't have a cold.
"Maybe it was the mic. There were no allergies, no cold," he said.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during the first debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, September 26. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
A lot of attention has been focused on both candidates' health going into the debate following Clinton's pneumonia diagnosis earlier this month. At the debate, the 70-year-old Trump also questioned the 68-year-old Clinton's endurance for the office, something he frequently does at this campaign rallies and on Twitter.
"I don't believe she does have the stamina,'' he said.
Clinton retorted by noting her travels to 112 countries and her more recent 11 hours of testimony before the House Benghazi Committee, suggesting that once Trump does something similar, "he can talk to me about stamina.'' Both candidates have since released details about their health history.
Meanwhile, Trump also claimed after the debate that he was given a "defective'' microphone.
Donald Trump greets Hillary Clinton after their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, September 26. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)
"I wonder: was that on purpose?'' he asked.
Trump's claim about the microphone is far from the first time he has suggested that outside forces have conspired against him. He has warned his supporters several times that he believed he could lose in November because the general election would be "rigged.''
Still, Trump was less combative Monday when debate moderator Lester Holt asked the candidates if they will accept the outcome if the other wins the election.
If Clinton is victorious, Trump said, "I will absolutely support her.''
With a file from Emma Prestwich