Trump's health has long been in question, but never more so than in the wake of his coronavirus diagnosis.
On Fox Business Thursday, Donald Trump said that he was able to beat coronavirus because he's a "perfect physical specimen," but even his own doctors say otherwise.
"I'm back because I am a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young. And so I'm lucky in that way," Trump said on the air.
But reports of Trump's health have been contradictory at best.
According to the White House, he first tested positive for coronavirus Oct. 1 and was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.
His physician, Sean Conley, reported that Trump's blood oxygen level had dropped to 93% on Saturday and that there was a prior low-oxygen incident Friday.
Conley mentioned that it had never dipped into the "low 80s," but even the high 80s would be cause for concern.
On Friday, Trump began a five-day course of remdesivir, generally reserved for moderately to severely ill patients. That same day, he received one dose of an experimental drug by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Trump was also prescribed dexamethasone, a heavy steroid (despite Trump's assertions to the contrary).
Trump left the hospital Monday, and on Tuesday, Conley announced that Trump was experiencing no symptoms and was doing "extremely well" — although Monday Conley had said Trump was not "out of the woods."
"I don't need to get in the president’s business ... but if (the administration's) goal is for us to understand more completely what is going on, they have left a lot of very useful information off the table," said Talmadge E. King Jr., a specialist in pulmonary critical care, to the New York Times.
After Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus, William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist, also weighed in.
"He is 74, he's hefty, and he's male," said Schaffner, noting that those "three things together" make him in a higher-risk group of coronavirus patients.
While Trump's medical team in his 2020 physical indicated that his cholesterol is under control at a healthy 167, in 2019 it was borderline at 196, and 2018 it was an unhealthy 223.
According to the New York Times, he has "mild heart disease," taking aspirin regularly to ward off heart attacks and a statin to address his high cholesterol issues.
And his weight, at 244 pounds, has crossed over into medical obesity.
The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment about discrepancies between Trump's claims and his medical records.
And confusion on the subject of Trump's health abounds. In November 2019, Trump took the nation by surprise by making an unexpected visit to Walter Reed, months ahead of his scheduled February physical.
Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement claiming Trump was taking advantage of a free weekend to get a head start on his annual physical. It's unclear why a routine exam would require multiple visits.
And CNN reported at the time that unlike his previous two routine physicals, Walter Reed staff did not receive any staff-wide notice or announcement about Trump's visit, as is usually the case.
To veil the subject in further mystery, six months later — in May — Trump had yet to complete the 2020 physical he purportedly began in November, raising questions.
The annual physical is usually conducted in January or February.
NBC reported Thursday that Trump requested all Walter Reed doctors sign nondisclosure agreements before allowing them to treat him, an unprecedented move.
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss commented that as part of "granting a president as much power as we do," someone in that position of authority has the obligation to "demonstrate that he is well" or at least "let us know exactly what is amiss."
"From the time in the 1950s when Dwight Eisenhower released unprecedented information about the heart attack, ileitis and stroke he suffered in office, most presidents have fulfilled that demand, including releasing the results of regular physicals," he added. "Too often in history have presidents concealed secret illnesses and medicine routines that had the potential to undermine their leadership, and the wellbeing of all of us."
Concerns are mounting about Trump's mental health, too, as multiple outlets report that the White House occupant's unhinged tweets and increasingly erratic behavior are beginning to concern his family.
And a July Hill-HarrisX poll found that about 55% of voters say Trump is mentally unfit for office, while 44% say he is physically unfit.
Of course, concerns about Trump's health date back to 2015, when he released a statement from his personal physician Harold Bornstein stating that Trump had never been significantly ill in 39 years and that he had "extraordinary" stamina.
"If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," Bornstein said in the statement, which he later admitted was dictated to him by the patient.
It's clear that Trump's administration puts political expedience above the American people's right to know, and it doesn't look like that's changing anytime soon.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.