Trump’s former doctor, Harold Bornstein, claims that a 2015 statement about the President’s health, which was then attributed to Bornstein, was in fact written by Trump himself. For those who don’t recall, a passage from the “Doctor’s letter” which received special attention went as follows: “[h]is physical strength and stamina are extraordinary. If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Bornstein went on to say that, after he let it slip that Trump took a hair-loss medication, three men from Trump’s office, a group which included Alan Garten, a lawyer, and Keith Schiller, former director of Oval Office operations, came to his office and took Trump’s medical records in a “raid”-like fashion.
Trump’s actions have been described as totalitarian, and one opinion summarizes his concern over the news as follows: “[d]oes he have a condition or problem that will shorten his life or impair his ability to do the job?” The problem with Trump’s attempts to hide his medical history can be divided into two issues: 1) his fitness to serve, and 2) a trend of dishonesty.
There has been some speculation about the use of the 25th amendment to remove Trump for mental or physical unfitness. One might argue that if Trump is trying to hide some serious health issues, that might increase the likelihood of his removal; however, Trump is hardly the first president to have and hide health issues. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt concealed the true extent of his polio-caused paralysis throughout his political career, and kept his increasing heart problems carefully under wraps during his third and fourth terms. President Wilson suffered from a severe stroke while in office which his wife and doctor hid from the public, and President Kennedy, though “famous for having a bad back,” successfully hid “other illnesses, including persistent digestive problems and Addison’s disease, a life-threatening lack of adrenal function.”
What may distinguish Mr. Trump’s blatant falsification of his medical history from the concealment practiced by some of his predecessors is the degree to which this incident is part of a larger pattern of lying.
The topic of President Trump’s pervasive falsehoods has been explored thoroughly on this blog. Should congress choose to pursue impeachment on that basis, Trump’s efforts to hide his health may constitute another avenue of inquiry.