Monday 29 August 2016

Trump’s Doctor Draws Fresh Scrutiny (for all the wrong reasons)

The story of Dr. Harold Bornstein, who says he’s been Donald Trump’s personal physician since 1980, has always been odd. Late last year for example, Team Trump released an unintentionally hilarious, four-paragraph letter from the doctor – the only medical information we have about the Republican candidate – asserting that Trump’s “physical strength and stamina are extraordinary” and his lab tests results were “astonishingly excellent.”

Bornstein added at the time, “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Things got a little weirder when we learned the physician identifies himself with the American College of Gastroenterology, which isn’t exactly true. An NBC News report on Friday took the story in an even more jaw-dropping direction.
Donald Trump’s personal physician said he wrote a letter declaring Trump would be the healthiest president in history in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his Manhattan office. […]

Asked how he could justify the hyperbole [about Trump becoming “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”], Bornstein said, “I like that sentence to be quite honest with you and all the rest of them are either sick or dead.”

He went on to say that the Oval Office has been occupied by presidents with dementia or tumors or even men who were “paranoid” or “psychotic.”
As for the letter itself, as Bornstein explained it, Team Trump dispatched a limo to the doctor’s Park Avenue office to pick up the statement at the end of the day. Bornstein threw the letter together without proofreading it. NBC News’ report added, “The doctor said he would not normally use such over-the-top language in a letter for a patient but he made an exception for Trump,” driven in part by a tweet the candidate had recently published, describing his medical history as “perfection.”

Bornstein added, however, “In the rush, I think some of those words didn’t come out exactly the way they were meant.”

But wait, there’s more.

In light of these new details, the Washington Post noted, accurately, that “it’s clear we don’t have a particularly serious evaluation of what condition Trump’s health is in.” Given Trump’s conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, it’s a curious dynamic.

But let’s not overlook the fact that Bornstein also told NBC News, in reference to Hillary Clinton, “I know her physician and I know some of her health history which is really not so good.”

After 14 months of Trump’s presidential candidacy, I can appreciate the fact that many of us have become slightly inured to the circus. We’ve come to expect daily nuttiness and those expectations prevent astonishment to circumstances that would otherwise surprise us during a normal election with a normal Republican nominee.

But the fact remains that Bornstein’s comments on Friday were so bizarre, it’s getting easier to believe the entire Trump campaign is some kind of farcical performance-art project mocking the absurdities of our modern political system.

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