President Trump Says He'll Be 'Very Surprised' If His Physical Exam Doesn't Go Well
President Donald Trump will undergo his first physical examination since taking office amid claims that he is mentally unfit to serve and has early-stage dementia
On Friday, Trump — who at 71 is the oldest person ever elected to serve as President of the United States — will fly to Bethesda, Maryland, for the examination.
The president is scheduled to have his physical with Dr. Ronny Jackson, who will release a brief statement following the exam, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday.
Next week, Jackson will release a fuller readout and take questions from the press, Sanders added.
The president told reporters on Thursday, “I think it’s going to go very well. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t.”
He later added, “It better go well; otherwise the stock market will not be happy.”
Don’t expect the exam to answer questions about his mental fitness. According to The New York Times, the White House has said that the president will not undergo a psychiatric exam or other forms of cognitive testing that would screen for mental disorders like dementia.
This news comes just days after Trump responded to claims made about his mental capacity and fitness in Michael Wolff’s headline-making new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by calling himself “like, really smart” and saying that he is “a very stable genius.”
In a series of Twitter messages on Saturday, the former Celebrity Apprentice star appeared to push back against claims made in Wolff’s book which reported that a number of White House staffers alleged Trump was “incapable of functioning in his job.”
“Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence,” Trump said.
“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star to President of the United States (on my first try),” he continued. “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius…. and a very stable genius at that!”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently responded to similar questions about President Trump’s mental fitness to serve, calling them “disgraceful and laughable” during her daily press briefing.
“If he was unfit, he probably wouldn’t be sitting there,” Sanders said. “This is an incredibly strong and good leader.”
In Fire & Fury, Wolff writes of Trump staffers: “My indelible impression of talking to them and observing them through much of the first year of his presidency, is that they all — 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”
Wolff also alleged that Trump has had trouble recognizing old friends in an essay about the book published in The Hollywood Reporter, an apparent hint that the president’s memory may be fading.
And in November, Joe Scarborough — a former friend of Trump — made similar claims on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, saying that people close to the president have said he has shown early signs of dementia.
“We have a president, who Mika and I believe, through knowing him, is not mentally stable,” said Scarborough. “Is less stable [than he was] a year and a half ago when people on his campaign told me they believe he had early onset dementia.”
“Nobody feels comfortable working for him. Not one person,” added Scarborough’s co-host and fiancée Brzezinski.
Concern was also raised over Trump’s health in December, after the president noticeably slurred his words toward the end of his speech about Israel.
There has also been much scrutiny over his diet.
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski revealed the president’s junk food preferences in his recent book, writing “on Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke.”
Lewandowski also wrote that Trump, a fast food aficionado, once ordered a McDonald’s dinner that included “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted” — all totaling a whopping 2,530 calories with 114g fat and 3530mg sodium.
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Despite rising concerns about the president’s health, in 2015 his longtime physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, released a statement praising then-candidate Trump’s “extraordinary” stamina and claimed that if he was elected, he “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
In September 2016, Bornstein also released a medical note revealing Trump’s weight (236 lbs.), cholesterol (169) and blood pressure levels. The note went on to reveal that Trump was taking a cholesterol-lowering drug and stated that overall he was “in excellent physical health.”
According to The New York Times, Trump will ultimately be able to control what information from his physical will be made available to the public. However, Sanders has said that what they release would likely follow closely to what was revealed from former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush‘s examinations.
The Times reported that those physicals provided the public with information about the president’s height, weight and cholesterol levels. Both Bush and President Bill Clinton’s physicals noted weight fluctuation, while Bush’s physical also included that the president occasionally smoked cigars. Additionally, Obama’s physical noted the president’s levels of prostate specific antigen, which is a marker for prostate cancer.
However, TIME also noted that in the past, presidential physicals have mischaracterized or hidden illnesses in order to make presidents appear more fit to hold office. Grover Cleveland withheld information that he had part of a cancerous jaw removed, while Woodrow Wilson covered up a stroke.