President Trump’s personal physician once claimed he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” but there’s a good deal of evidence casting doubt on that idea.
Trump, who is undergoing his first presidential physical exam Friday afternoon, is older than all previous presidents when they first took office. He is also the heaviest president in at least a generation and consumes a diet heavy with Big Macs, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, fried chicken, pizza, well-done steak and two rounds of dessert. He seems to get little exercise beyond swinging a golf club, as he spends most of his time on the course traveling in an electric cart. And he likes to brag about how little sleep he gets.
The risks of such a health profile are well known: heart disease, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure, to name a few.
“He doesn’t look healthy,” said Daryl Isaacs, a New York internist at NYU Langone Health, who monitored the impact of Morgan Spurlock’s month-long McDonald’s-only diet for the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me” and one of the few medical experts willing to venture an opinion about the president. “His complexion doesn’t look healthy.”
Trump’s physical exam is being conducted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center under the supervision of Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, who has been the lead White House doctor since 2013 and oversaw two of President Barack Obama’s exams. Trump arrived at Walter Reed just before 1 p.m. and the exam was expected to last about three hours.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that Jackson will issue a “brief statement” after the physical, then will compile detailed results over the long weekend and appear at Tuesday’s press briefing to take questions.
“I think it’s going to go very well,” Trump said on Thursday afternoon. “I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t.”
Undergoing this physical is voluntary, and Trump can pick and choose what the public hears about his health.
Sanders announced the exam in early December, a day after the president gave a speech announcing his plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, at one point, heavily slurred his words. At the time, Sanders said that the president’s throat was simply dry, and she said this week that the exam had been in the works before that incident.
The exam will not include a psychological test, a White House spokesman said, and officials would not say whether Trump will undergo cognitive tests. Trump’s mental fitness has come under scrutiny after the release of a book that portrayed him as unprepared for the presidency, incapable of processing information and uninterested in making difficult decisions.
The physical-exam results disclosed by previous presidents have varied. Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all released their heights and weights, lists of the medications they took, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and other lab results.