Donald Trump’s doctor is not particularly worried about his patient being the oldest person to assume the presidency, pointing out the line of succession allows presidents to “keep dying” and someone will be there to replace them.
Dr. Harold Bornstein, who has been Trump’s physician since 1980, went to some lengths to avoid most media interviews during the campaign, but recently agreed to one with the medical site STAT News.
In a piece published Wednesday, Bornstein says of Trump’s health, “If something happens to him, then it happens to him. It’s like all the rest of us, no? That’s why we have a vice president and a Speaker of the House and a whole line of people.”
“They can just keep dying,” he added.
“His blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were astonishingly excellent,” wrote the doctor, adding he had lost 15 pounds over the previous 12 months.
Bornstein further related that Trump has never had any form of cancer, takes aspirin daily and is on a low dose of a statin (a drug used to keep cholesterol in check).
The physician’s overall assessment was that his patient would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence vouched for Trump’s stamina during the campaign. “I’ll tell you, this man is a few years older than me. I’m 57 years old,” Pence said. “I can’t hardly keep up with the man.”
In his interview with STAT, Bornstein mentioned Ronald Reagan, who at 69, was the oldest person to assume the highest office in the land, that is until he was re-elected in 1984 at age 73.
In the doctor’s view, “Ronald Reagan had pre-senile dementia. I mean, seriously, did they share that one with you, or did Nancy just cover it up?”
Reagan’s family and former staff members refute that opinion.
In November 1994, nearly six years after leaving office, Reagan announced to the world in a letter that he had recently been told that he was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The former president had given several interviews and speeches in the years leading up the announcement.
In his letter, Reagan reported feeling “fine” at the time, but knew the disease would progress. “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead,” he closed.
Reagan died in June 2004.
His wife Nancy was convinced a head injury the former president suffered after falling from a horse six months after leaving office likely contributed to the onset or the progression of the disease. Reagan had to undergo multiple brain surgeries to remove blood clots within months of the fall in July 1989.
Reagan made light of his age during his re-election campaign in 1984 in one of the most famous presidential debate lines in American history. When asked about the topic, the former Hollywood actor flipped the issue saying of his 56-year-old Democratic rival, former Vice President Walter Mondale, “I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” which drew a roar of laughter from the crowd and even Mondale.
The American people were clearly satisfied with Reagan’s ability to carry out the responsibilities of the office, as he won 49 of 50 states when being elected to a second term.
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