White House slams 'ridiculous' Trump health questions

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON — President Trump will undergo the traditional physical examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in early 2018 and make public the results of that checkup, the White House promised on Thursday. Press secretary Sarah Sanders also dismissed what she called “ridiculous questions” about Trump’s health after he seemed to slur some words in a speech a day earlier.

“There were a lot of questions on that — frankly, pretty ridiculous questions,” Sanders told reporters at her daily briefing. “The president’s throat was dry, nothing more than that.”

Her comments came after speculation fueled by Trump’s speech patterns near the end of Wednesday speech in which he formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Sanders also said that Trump would undergo a checkup — “the full physical that presidents go through” — at Walter Reed in “the first part of next year.”

And, she said, “those records will be released by the doctor following that.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)

Trump, who at 71 is known to be fond of fast food and to shun exercise, has faced questions about his health before. In December 2015, Trump’s campaign released a remarkable letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein — the son of Trump’s longtime physician, Jacob Bornstein — attesting to the candidate’s vigor.

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to presidency,” the doctor declared. The statement seemed, on its face, ridiculous — Gerald Ford was a gifted athlete prior to being elected, George W. Bush’s passion for running kept him trim and his heart rate low.

Trump shared his clean bill of health on Facebook, writing that he is “fortunate to have been blessed with great genes.”

“People have been impressed by my stamina, but to me it has been easy because I am truly doing something that I love,” Trump added at the time.

In 2002, then-President George W. Bush jogs with U.S. Secret Service agents during the APEC Leaders’ annual meetings in Los Cabos, Mexico. (Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters)

In a September 2016 television appearance on “Dr. Oz,” Trump said he does not work out but considers his speeches to be exercise.

“When I’m speaking in front of 15 and 20,000 people and I’m up there using a lot of motion, I guess in its own way, it’s a pretty healthy act. I really enjoy doing it,” Trump said. “A lot of times these rooms are very hot, like saunas, and I guess that is a form of exercise and, you know?”

The commander in chief’s powers to unleash nuclear armageddon understandably makes Americans concerned about their leader’s health. But some of the greatest U.S. presidents have been quite sick — FDR spent much of his presidency in a wheelchair, a fact largely concealed at the time.

Barack Obama’s 2014 physician’s report noted, declared him “tobacco-free,” but said that he does make “occasional use” of “nicotine gum.”

And Obama was diagnosed with acid reflux — heartburn, the classic Type-A health issue — and has in the past suffered from Vitamin D deficiency, which can result from getting insufficient exposure to the sun.

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