January 9, 2018
Only 40% of registered U.S. voters think that Trump is fit to be president, while 57% think he is not, based on findings of a poll by Quinnipiac University released in mid-November. But what will the doctors say on Friday when the POTUS gets his first physical exam since taking office?
Like all Americans, Trump has the right under HIPPA to protect his health information from public disclosure. However, the White House has promised that the physician to the president, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, will issue a public report on the exam, to be conducted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
The question of Trump’s mental and physical capabilities has come under increased, critical scrutiny since the release this month of a book on the president’s first few months in the Oval Office by Michael Wolff. Indeed, White House top staff is quoted in Fire and Fury, citing incidents that indicate that the POTUS may not be mentally fit.
Trump hit back against the claims on January 9, describing himself as a “very stable genius.” He then dispersed “an army of surrogates,” according to Bloomberg, “to forcefully denounce the book” on the Sunday morning political talk shows.
What’s more, the results that are offered to the American electorate may not provide much insight: Presidential medical reports are often short and to the point, featuring only such basic metrics as cholesterol levels, weight, and blood pressure, Bloomberg reports, as well as a smattering of idiosyncracies. After George W. Bush’s first physical exam, his physician said he smoked cigars and jogged 12 miles a week.
Most would guess that the president’s cholesterol could be off the charts, due to his affinity for the McDonald’s menu, including shakes, Big Macs and Filets-O-Fish.
Art Caplan, a professor of Bioethics at New York University told Bloomberg that the only way in which Jackson could legally and ethically release information about Trump’s mental state without the president’s consent is if he determined Trump posed a direct, imminent threat to another person, but that is an extremely difficult standard to meet.
“The standard is so tough to meet in a physical, I can’t imagine that happening,” Caplan said.
Research contact: @spettypi