For just under one hour Tuesday, the White House physician methodically answered questions about the health of 71-year-old President Donald Trump, whom he declared “fit for duty.”
While Trump, at 190 centimeters (almost 6 feet 3 inches) tall and weighing 108 kilograms (239 pounds) is the third-heaviest president in U.S. history (after William Howard Taft and Grover Cleveland), “the president’s overall health is excellent,” Dr. Ronny Jackson said. “All clinical data indicates the president is very healthy and would remain so for the duration of his presidency.”
Jackson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and who had performed Barack Obama’s final presidential physical, said he had been instructed by Trump to remain at the lectern in the press briefing room until all questions were answered about the president’s extensive exam last Friday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Some of the reporters’ questions dealt with the president’s mental condition, which Jackson also described as sound, noting his score of “30 out of 30” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.
Trump had requested such a test be included in his checkup, in response to concerns about his cognitive abilities, Jackson said.
“Tabloid psychiatry” is how Jackson described outside diagnoses of the president’s mental health by those who haven’t examined him.
‘Absolutely no concern’
“We have conversations about many things most every day,” the doctor said. “I had absolutely no concern about his cognitive ability.”
And if he did, Jackson declared, “I would bring that up to the proper people in the chain of command.”
Prior to his first presidential physical exam, concerns expressed about Trump’s mental fitness prompted him to declare himself on Twitter a “stable genius.”
Jackson said Trump, who sleeps just four to five hours per night, “has a very unique ability to get up in the morning and reset,” and that has helped with the president’s stress level.
“He had great findings across the board,” but the thing that is most outstanding is his cardiac health, according to Jackson, who was quizzed about the president’s fitness from head to toe.
“His heart is very healthy,” said the doctor. “We’re doing a decent job with his cholesterol.”
As for those bone spurs that exempted a young Trump from the military draft, he was not examined for any at this time, because the president has made no complaint about podiatric health, Jackson said.
Reporters also asked about the couple of times Trump has noticeably slurred words during speeches.
The White House physician replied that Trump does not wear dentures and there is no physical ailment that likely caused the slurring.
“Secretions might have dried up temporarily due to him taking Sudafed [a brand of decongestant],” said Jackson.
Among the medications Trump continues to take since his last physical as a candidate in 2016, according to Jackson, are a statin to lower cholesterol and finasteride to combat male pattern hair loss.
The president would like to lose 10 to 15 pounds, according to the physician.
Jackson said he was working with first lady Melania Trump and the president’s daughter, Ivanka, to encourage the president to begin an exercise regimen and eat healthier foods, as he could benefit from a diet lower in cholesterol and fat. “He asked me to get the nutritionist involved.”
Queried by a skeptical reporter how Trump could be in such great shape for his age despite a reputation for frequently enjoying unhealthy fast foods, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, Jackson replied that “some people just have great genes.”
But the physician said he did want to see some change in Trump’s routine.
“Right now, on a day-to-day basis, he doesn’t have a dedicated, defined exercise program,” Jackson said of the president, who is known for long hours of television viewing and regular golf outings.
“We can build on that rather easily,” he added, prompting laughter among the reporters.