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President Trump’s First Annual Physical
(Thwarting 25th Amendment Coup Attempts)
By Gary F. Zeolla
On Friday, January 16, 2018, President Donald Trump had his first annual physical as President of the United States. On the following Tuesday, the White House physician, Dr. Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, participated in the Daily Press Briefing and gave details on the result of that physical. I was fortunate enough to have turned on the TV and Fox News just as the briefing was beginning, so I saw the entire hour-long briefing. In this article, I will overview what Rear Admiral Jackson said about the President’s health and in response to the numerous questions the press asked.
In a way, this article is a follow-up to the article posted on my fitness website Health-Related Stuff on Friday the 13th: Part One: Annual Physical and Blood Test. That article detailed what occurred during my own annual physical on October 13, 2017. I would encourage the reader to first read that article, as in it I explain many of the terms and tests to discussed here, and I will not be repeating that basic information here.
Normally, when the President of the United States (POTUS) has his annual physical, a short, written brief is released to the press indicating POTUS is in good health with no major health concerns, and that is the extent of it. But the results of President Trump’s physical could not be addressed in such a routine manner given what has been happening ever since Donald Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
Unless the reader has been living in a cave for the past year, you will know that an attempted coup has been occurring in the United States, with one method after another being proposed to remove President Trump from office. One of these proposed methods is the 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
I discuss the players involved in these coup attempts, the methods being attempted, and details and the background to the 25th Amendment in my article Warning! Coup in Process, posted on my politics website, so I will not repeat all of that information here.
I will just say here that the 25th Amendment provides for the removal of a President if “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” The repeated claim for the past year has been that President Trump has some serious physical or mental health condition that would fulfill this standard, necessitating his removal from office. And the media and Democrats have been using his every public action and words as fodder for these claims.
For instance, a while back, during a press conference, Trump stopped and took a sip of water. That’s it. He got thirsty and took a drink, a perfectly normal action that every human being does on several occasions every day. But stations like CNN and MSNBC used that simple and normal act as reason for lengthy discussions about Trumps health, saying he must diabetes or some such serious health condition that would require him to stop and take a drink of water.
Then at his next press conference, President Trump appeared to be slurring his words. That really sent the media into a frenzy, claiming he must have had a stroke or some other serious health event.
The media has also been using Trump’s poor diet as evidence of these supposed health problems, such as CNN spending an extended amount of time discussing a report that “President Trump gets two scoops of ice cream while everyone else only gets one.”
But most off all, the media has been using his supposed outrageous public statements and especially his claimed shocking tweets as evidence that he is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or some other serious mental health condition.
To support such claims, the media spent much time discussing a report that Trump drinks up to a dozen cans of diet soda a day. That came on the heels of a study that showed a correlation between diet soda consumption and dementia. I discuss that study in my book Creationist Diet: Second Edition, as it was released during the time I was working on that book.
These claims of Trump suffering from dementia and the like have really been multipling ever since Trump’s “My button is bigger than your button” tweet in regard to the nuclear capabilities of North Korea versus the United States. Then more fuel on the fire was added by Michael Wolff’s fictional book, Fire and Fury, “which raised questions about the president’s mental health and fitness to run the Oval Office” (Fox News. Trump)
That was the leadup to the press briefing and why Dr. Jackson spent so long detailing the results of Trump’s physical and answering every question the press corps asked. Some of those questions even referenced the 25th Amendment and Trump’s diet, with specific mentions of his ice cream and diet soda habits.
With that background, it can be seen why a discussion of Trump’s physical is so vital. It is also why President Trumps’ physical lasted over four hours, with about a dozen medical personal being involved. It was so extensive so as to cover every possible health condition President Trump could conceivably be suffering from.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders introduced Dr. Jackson by way or detailing his qualifications. She first discussed his predecessor, who was the White House physician of the previous three Presidents. She then read a letter of recommendation from him about Dr. Jackson, who took over as White House physician in the middle of President George W. Bush's second term. He remained the White House physician for both of Obama's terms. Thus, between the two of them, they have served the last five Presidents, going back to President Ronald Reagan, with never a complaint about either of them or a question ever raised about their competency.
President Trump’s Vitals
Dr. Rear Admiral Jackson began the briefing with President Trump’s vitals. His is 71 years old, 75” (6’, 3”) tall, and weighs 239 pounds. That gives him a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 29.9, which means President Trump is at the high end of the “overweight” category and just shy of the “obese” category.
However, his blood pressure and resting heart rate are a very normal 122/74, 68. Also normal is his body temperature of 98.4°F, his fasting blood glucose of 89, his PSA of 0.12, and his vision of 20/30 without glasses and 20/20 with glasses. All of the rest of his blood and urine test results were also normal, with the exception of his cholesterol.
His total cholesterol was 223 mg/dl, his LDL 143, and HDL 67. The total and LDL cholesterol is high, but due to his better than normal HDL, his total cholesterol/ HDL ratio is a very good 3.3, as “An optimal ratio is less than 3.5-to-1” (WebMD. Cholesterol). That ratio is the most importunate number. But still, Dr. Jackson said he has had President on a low dose of Crestor (a cholesterol lowering medication), but will be increasing the dosage to try to bring his LDL down to 120.
Otherwise, President Trump takes “Propecia, to prevent male pattern hair loss, a cream to treat rosacea and a multivitamin” (Fox News. Trump). Dr. Jackson also gives him and the rest of the staff Ambien when on overseas trips to help all of them to adjust to the new time zones. But he made it clear that Trump does not use the Ambien when not abroad.
Dr. Jackson has also gives Sudafed to Trump for allergies. In fact, that was the most likely cause for his slurring of words on that one occasion. The day prior to that press conference, Dr. Jackson had given President Trump the Sudafed. A known side effect of such medications is dry mouth. I can attest to that. A few years back, I tried Claritin. It was the kind you only need to take once every 24 hours. And sure enough, for the next 24 hours, I was unbearably thirsty. I was drinking water every few minutes, then urinating frequently as a result, barely sleeping that night due to having to get up so often to go to the bathroom. Then after exactly 24 hours, the unbearable thirst stopped, and I never took Claritin or any such allergy medication again.
In Trump’s case, after the ridiculous fury over him taking a drink of water during his previous press conference, he was trying to avoid doing so in that press conference, and with the dry mouth from the Sudafed, that led to the slurring of his words.
But to be sure that was in fact the reason for that episode, Dr. Jackson said he performed every possible vascular and other test to rule out Trump having had a stroke or other such event, and all of those tests were negative.
Dr. Jackson also noted that President Trump does not drink alcohol, nor does he use tobacco of any sort. In fact, Trump has never done so. He has never had a drink due to watching his older brother die of alcoholism, and he has never smoked.
All of these points together led Rear Admiral Jackson to declare that Trump is in “excellent health” and expects him to remain so for the duration of his term and even to the end of a second term if re-elected. The only areas of concern are his weight and his cholesterol. He also has signs of calcium buildup in his arterial arteries, with the amount increasing over the years. That is why Dr. Jackson performed a chest CT scan on Trump. But Dr. Jackson did not seem concerned about the amount of calcium buildup.
Moreover, he indicated that Trump had passed an echo cardiogram, EKG, and stress test with flying colors, indicating his heart and vascular system were very healthy. In fact, his cardiovascular (CV) fitness is above average and very good for someone his age. Trump also has no family or personal history of heart disease or stroke, so there is no reason to be concerned in those regards.
In sum, Dr. Jackson specifically said President Trump does not have heart disease and had no concerns that he would have a heart attack or stroke anytime in the near future. He also said Trump also has no signs of diabetes nor of any other serious health situation.
He also mentioned that Trump only sleeps 4-5 hours a day. But that has been his pattern for most of his life, so despite being less than what is considered to be optimal, it is normal and working well for him.
President Trump’s Diet and Exercise
The reason President Trump is overweight and has high LDL cholesterol is throughout his life he has not been following a healthy diet. Fast foods, sweets, and diet sodas have been the norm. However, his diet has improved since becoming President, as he eats what the White House chef prepares.
Dr. Jackson said he will be employing a nutritionist to work with the White House chef to make the President’s meals even healthier. He also indicated that he eats what the President and the rest of his staff eats when on Air Force One, and that the meals are very healthy, except for the deserts. He also said he will employ the help of the First Lady and First Daughter, Melania and Ivanka Trump, to help in encouraging President Trump to eat better.
He will also employ their help is encouraging the President to exercise. There is a gym in the White House that they will be encouraging the President to utilize, starting with some of the cardio equipment. But at present, the only exercise he gets is through his golfing.
That is not much, as he generally uses a cart, but it is better than nothing. In fact, all of the complaints of the media about the amount of time the President spends golfing are rather misguided, given that golfing is his only form of exercise. Take that away, and maybe his CV fitness would not be so good. It is also a good stress reducer, which is also important for heart health and especially for someone with as stressful a job as being POTUS.
But still, Dr. Jackson said he has given Trump the goal of losing 10-15 pounds in the next year. That will be easy to do if Trump follows the advice to eat a healthier diet and to start exercising on a more regular basis in the White House gym.
President Trump’s Mental State
That is it for POTUS’ physical health. But what about his mental health? That has been the cause for much greater debate and for calls for removing him from office via the 25th Amendment. Does President Trump show any signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), or any other mental aberration?
Dr. Jackson make clear that he sees the President just about day, sometimes 3-4 times a day, due to his office being just down the hall from the Oval Office. Also, as indicated, he accompanies the President and his staff on Air Force One when the President travels within the US and overseas. And in all of that time he has spent with the President, he has never seen any signs of dementia, AD, or other mental aberrations.
As such, Dr. Jackson did not believe a cognitive assessment was necessary. In fact, such an assessment is not part of the normal physical the President receives and has never been done on a President before. But at Trump’s insistence, Dr. Jackson performed a cognitive assessment on Trump. Also at Trump’s instance, he used the most compressive screening test available, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Exam (MOCA). The President passed it with a perfect score of 30 out of 30.
With passing that exam and with no signs of any mental deficiency, no further testing was warranted nor performed. The doctor made it clear that President Trump is perfectly fit for office both physically and mentally and that he excepts him to remain that way for the duration of his term(s) in office.
Dr. Jackson pointed out that of course he does not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. But based on all testable factors, there is simply nothing of concern in Trumps’ medical situation that would render him unable to perform the duties of his office for the foreseeable future.
The Press Corps’ Questions
After his lengthy overview of the over four-hour physical, Dr. Jackson took questions from the press corps. They were numerous and repetitive. But they could all be summarized as the press corps trying to find some crack in what Dr. Jackson had said that would leave open the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment. But Dr. Jackson was adamant in declaring Trump was in excellent health and fully fit for office.
As mentioned, a couple of the questions referenced the 25th Amendment. They were by way of asking if the Rear Admiral would be involved in any discussions about invoking it. He replied that constitutionally, that is not required, but that he would hope that he would be, as he is the person who is most qualified and in the best position to make recommendations in that regard. And those questions gave him the chance to emphasize once again that Trump is in excellent medical condition, so there would be no reason whatsoever for invoking the 25th Amendment.
When someone asked about whether Trump would still be allowed to have two scoops of ice cream and so much diet soda, the Doctor just laughed that question off as being kind of ridiculous. “I will not be monitoring everything he eats.”
When asked about psychiatrists who have “diagnosed” Trump as having dementia or AD on TV news shows, Dr., Jackson called attempts by psychiatrists to try to diagnose someone they have never even met let alone examined as “Tabloid Psychiatry.” He also said that the American Psychiatric Association has specifically condemned psychiatrists who engage in such practices.
The reporters even asked Dr. Jackson if he was hiding anything, implying he was holding back some negative results. But Dr. Jackson made it clear that he has released every bit of information that was uncovered about Trump’s health during the physical.
Comments after the Briefing
You would think this hour-long press briefing would put to rest any concerns about the health of President Trump, physical and mental, and that it would be the end of any talk of the 25th Amendment. But sad to say, that has not been the case.
First off, the media immediately began to misrepresent what was said at the press briefing. For instance, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was at the press briefing and even asked Dr. Jackson a couple of questions. As such, he knew full well that Dr. Jackson had given Trump an excellent bill of health. But just a couple of hours later, he was on CNN saying rather of factually that Trump has heart disease. That despite the fact that Dr. Jackson had specifically said that he did not. But Dr. Gupta based his diagnosis on Trump’s increasing calcium buildup in his arterial arteries.
This is not a case of two doctors disagreeing with a diagnosis but of one doctor who had extensively examined a patient giving his diagnosis and another doctor who never has even met the patient let alone examined him giving an alternative view. I will let the reader decide whose diagnosis should be believed.
But before you do, that was not the only point on which Dr. Jackson and Dr. Gupta disagreed. They also disagreed on how long Trump’s physical lasted. Dr. Jackson said it lasted over four hours, while Dr. Gupta said on CNN that it lasted 3-1/2 hours. Now, who are you going to believe, the doctor who performed the physical, or a doctor who wasn’t even present for it? Why Dr. Gupta would lie about such an easily verifiable point is beyond me. I can only guess he was trying to minimize how extensive the physical was.
Otherwise, the media has been disagreeing with Dr. Jackson over how tall Trump is. Dr. Jackson said he is 6’3”, while the media claims they have found an old driver’s license that shows he is only 6’2”. That might seem like a trivial point, and it is. But the reason the media is harping on it is, if Trump is only 6’2”, then his BMI would be 30.7, putting him into the obese category. As such, the media is saying Dr. Jackson lied about Trump’s height, just so he could say he is not obese.
But Dr. Jackson was up front with all of Trump’s numbers, and ones that are far more sensitive than his height. Most likely, this was a measurement difference. When Trump was measured as being 6’2”, he was probably slouching just a bit, but when he was measured as being 6’3”, he was standing a bit straighter. That’s it. Moreover, if Dr. Jackson was to lie to keep Trump from being in the obese category, it would be easier to lie about his weight, since that fluctuates on a day to day basis anyways.
But then, the media has been doubting that President Trump only weighs 239 pounds, claiming to be able to guess his weight better than Dr. Jackson did in actually weighing him. “’Morning Joe’ namesake Joe Scarborough was among the most prominent media members who could moonlight as a weight guesser at his local county fair” (Fox News. Media).
However, it is true bodyweight fluctuates day to day. That is why one weighing is not near as important as how a person’s bodyweight is trending, if it is going up, down, or remaining about the same. In Trump’s case, Dr. Jackson wants it to start trending downward, and that would recommendation would not change if Trump’s BMI were a few tenths of a point higher.
There have also been some who have been questioning Dr. Jackson’s qualifications, though before this briefing and while he was the White House physician for President Obama, such was never questioned. It is only now, when he reported findings about President Trump that contradicted the long-running leftist narrative about him, that Dr. Jackson’s has been criticized.
But the most important complaint is that the cognitive test Trump was given was too simple. It asked questions like to draw a face clock with the hands at 11:10 or to identify different animals, like a rhinoceros and elephant. People are saying that is kindergarten stuff that any person could pass. But in saying that, such people demonstrate they haven’t a clue what dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease entails. And that point leads to the most personal section of this article.
My Experience with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
My maternal grandfather died of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) back in 1999, after suffering with it for several years. My mom died with dementia on my birthday last year (2017), that she had suffered with for the previous 16 years. As such, I know all too well what the symptoms of AD and dementia are. And let me say as strongly as I can—whenever people have said that President Trump has AD or dementia, I find it highly insulting, offensive, and belittling of those who suffer with these diseases and those who care for them.
AD and dementia are very serious illnesses that affect not just the person who suffers with them but all of those who are close to them, especially their primary caregiver. In my mom’s case, that was my dad. He faithfully took care of her for those 16 long years.
I could go into explicit details about how my grandpa and mom acted and how very difficult it was to take care of them. But I prefer not to think of them and how they were when they were suffering with these diseases, and I would rather the reader not get a picture of them at those times either. I prefer to remember them as how they were before they contracted those disease, and that is how I prefer others to think of them.
But I will say that if all having AD or dementia meant is the person says things that are considered to be outrageous or that he or she tweets shocking comments, then suffering from these diseases would not be that big of a deal, and taking care of them would be a breeze. Just ignore those derogatory comments, and that would be that.
But AD and dementia involve far more than that. When I say my dad took care of my mom, that is the correct terminology, as a person with AD or dementia cannot take care of themselves. They cannot perform the normal daily functions all of us take for granted each day. As such, taking care of them is truly a 24-hour job, and those who care for them should be commended. But saying someone like Trump, who is fully capable of caring for himself, is suffering from AD or dementia is to belittle the difficult work of caregivers.
Moreover, those suffering from AD or dementia would not even be able to tweet, as they would not have the mental or physical acuity to use a computer, tablet, or smart phone to do so. As such, Trump’s tweets, far from being signs he is suffering from AD or dementia, are signs that he is not.
Given all of this, every talking head on TV, every radio personal, and every person who has ever said or written that Trump is suffering from AD or dementia owe every person who is truly suffering from these diseases and their caregivers an apology. Moreover, every TV psychiatrist who has “diagnosed” Trump with one of these diseases without even examining him should lose their medical licenses, as they are quacks of the worst kind.
Of course, that will never happen. The media’s hatred for Donald Trump is too deep-rooted for them to ever admit they are wrong about him, so they will continue to use such terminology to describe Trump, even as they move on to the next lie about him. The media will also continue to feature quack doctors, who think they can diagnosis serious illnesses without ever examining the patients and who think they know more about the patients than the doctors who have actually examine them.
Reporters spent months diagnosing the president as mentally unfit for office, unstable, and Trump was even speculated to have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Now that the armchair doctors and psychologists have been proven wrong, many old school journalists would expect an apology, retraction or even correction, but it doesn’t appear that will happen anytime soon (Fox News; Media).
But worst of all, the reporters at the press briefing and the talking heads on TV since then truly seem disappointed that President Trump is in excellent health, as they wanted him to be suffering from some serious physical or mental condition. That attitude toward another human being and fellow-American is truly despicable. No matter how much you might disagree with someone’s politics, you should never wish him or her ill-will.
An Exceptional Person
One last point is worth exploring before closing this article. One of the reporters at the press briefing asked Dr. Jackson, “With Trump not having followed a healthy diet for most of his life and not exercising, how is it that he is so healthy?” Dr. Jackson’s answer was simple: “genes” and “That is how God made him.”
The point is, as frustrating as it might be to someone like myself who encourages people to follow a healthy eating plan and to exercise, some people can do everything “wrong” and still be healthy. That is frustrating, as many people will look at these exceptional people who break all of the “rules” and use that as an excuse to not follow healthy habits themselves.
However, the fact remains that most people, make that the vast majority of people, could not get away with eating an unhealthy diet, not exercising, and sleeping just 4-5 hours a night. For most everyone other than exceptional people like Donald Trump, such habits would take a toll, leading to poor health, reduced functionality, and an early death. As such, the information in my writings, like the aforementioned book Creationist Diet: Second Edition, my God-given Foods Eating Plan book, my newsletter, and my fitness website, is still relevant to the vast majority of people
And even a unique person like Donald Trump who can do everything wrong and still be healthy would still benefit from following such advice. As Dr. Jackson put it, “If the President had been following a healthy diet for the past 20 years, he might live to be 200.” He was exaggerating of course. But his point was that Trump would be even healthier if he took better care of himself, and the same would be true for all of us.
President Donald Trump received a clean bill of health from the White House physician after an extensive, over four-hour exam. His physical and mental health are both excellent. As such, he is fully capable of performing the duties of the office of POTUS. That should put to rest all talk about him being unable to do so and of invoking the 25th Amendment.
Along with my own memory of the press briefing, I consulted the following sources to be sure I had all of the numbers and details correct:
Fox News. Trump has first presidential physical: What to know.
Fox News. Media embarrass themselves by diagnosing President Trump with armchair medical advice.
New York Times. Doctor Declares Trump’s Health Excellent, With Perfect Score on Cognitive Test.
WebMD. Body Mass Index (BMI) for Adults.
WebMD. Cholesterol Ratio: Is It Important?
President Trump’s First Annual Physical (Thwarting 25th Amendment Coup Attempts). Copyright © 2018 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this Web site January 19, 2018.
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