Donald Trump’s doctor letter certifying him as fully fit and ready to serve as president of the United States has recently come under close – and somewhat skeptical – scrutiny by the media. As reported by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, several aspects of this letter make no sense at all. And if Donald Trump is going to embrace conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, his assertions about his own health should be absolutely spotless. Unfortunately, they’re not.
Tim Kaine Presses Donald Trump on Health, Mocking a Doctor’s Letter https://t.co/uHWWs6bfqn
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) August 30, 2016
Ever since Donald Trump began his astonishing drop in the polls following the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Trump campaign – and the Republicans in general – have been flailing around looking for some way to derail the Clinton juggernaut that’s bearing down on them. Trump’s continual gaffes, missteps, and outrageously offensive statements haven’t made this any easier.
In their desperation, one of the approaches Trump’s handlers have tried over the last few weeks involves asserting that Hillary Clinton has secret health problems. They want voters to believe that these mysterious ailments make her unqualified for the rigors of the presidency.
— Omid P. Panahi (@OmidPPanahi) August 29, 2016
Of course, there’s very little in the way of actual evidence to support these accusations. Yes, Clinton is in her late 60s and did have a concussion not long ago. But the same could be said for countless thousands of other people who lead active and productive lives.
But in throwing open the door to a closer examination of candidate health, Trump may have made a serious mistake. While Hillary Clinton – like many presidential candidates before her – released a two-page letter clearly detailing her health in a way that carries conviction, Trump took a very different approach to his own doctor letter.
Clinton’s doctor letter details her health issues, including the concussion she had, the blood clot that resulted from it, and the thyroid medications she currently takes. No claims that she is in perfect health appear in this letter. The letter simply states that she is in good enough health to be president of the United States.
Trump’s doctor letter – by contrast – suggests that he is in fantastic, almost unbelievable health. Trump’s physician, Doctor Harold Bornstein, wrote this letter for Trump in December of last year. Having been Trump’s physician for many years, it might seem obvious that he would be the person to ask about Trump’s health.
“Astonishingly excellent” description by Dr. in Trump medical letter "a joke" according to doctor's lurking wife https://t.co/ZdeeaQDDL8
— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) August 30, 2016
However, as noted by The Atlantic, the speed with which this letter was written calls into question its accuracy. According to the doctor himself, he wrote the letter in only five minutes so it could be carried away in a waiting car parked just outside his office.
In addition, Doctor Bornstein admitted that much of the language used in the letter was intended to be humorous exaggeration. As the following makes clear, the good doctor’s letter needs to be taken with a sizable grain of salt, particularly given that Trump would be the oldest man ever to become president.
“Over the past 39 years, I am pleased to report that Mr. Trump has had no significant medical problems… Actually, his blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory results were astonishingly excellent… If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
But with interviewers who later questioned the doctor about his assessment of Donald Trump’s health, Doctor Bornstein essentially admitted that in saying that Donald Trump would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency, he was comparing him to presidents who were in particularly poor health. In other words, it was the most backhanded of all compliments.
If it's true that Bornstein spoke to Hillary's MDs re: her health & is sharing what he heard, aren't these HIPPA violations?? #maddow
— Susana R. Cuomo (@2ndHandProse) August 30, 2016
There are many questions about the speed with which this letter was written, the insincerity with which Doctor Bornstein wrote it, and the unwillingness of the Trump campaign to discuss the matter further. Because of this, it’s difficult not to suspect that Donald Trump’s health is not only worse than Trump’s doctor letter suggests, it might be a good deal worse than Hillary Clinton’s.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]