Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and onetime Democratic National Committee chairman, offered a qualified apology Friday morning for his repeated insinuations this week that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump might be a cocaine user.
“I would be very willing to apologize, not to Donald Trump, but I don’t think using innuendo is a good thing,” Dean said in an appearance on MSNBC.
Dean, who is a physician by profession, ignited controversy Monday night when he made remarks about Trump during the first presidential debate. Dean speculated on Twitter that Trump’s sniffling during the debate was the result of a cocaine habit.
Dean endured criticism from members of his own party for starting a rumor about the reality TV star without any evidence.
Initially, Dean doubled down on his claims, noting on Tuesday that Trump’s grandiose behavior “is actually a signature of people who use cocaine.”
And when walking back his comments on Friday, Dean maintained that Trump has some abnormal disposition that leads him to send out bizarre tweets at strange hours.
“People who stay up at three and four and five o’clock in the morning tweeting about sex tapes ― these are not normal people,” Dean said. “And there is something the matter with him and I don’t know what it is.”
Dean was referencing a series of tweets Trump sent out Friday morning instructing people to “check out” a sex tape allegedly shot by former-Miss Universe-turned-Hillary-Clinton-surrogate Alicia Machado.
He also demanded that the media apologize for applying a “double standard” in its coverage of Trump that effectively “created” his candidacy.