Donald Trump just turned 70.
That makes him (slightly) older than Hillary Clinton. It would make him older than any other president in US history, though obviously not older than many other world leaders who were active well into their 80s, including Winston Churchill and Charles De Gaulle or, more recently, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Cuban president Raúl Castro and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.
But where are the stories about his health?
He has released exactly one report — last December — about his health, and it’s far from authoritative. In fact, by the standards of presidential campaigns, it was more comical than informative:
“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual elected to the presidency,” [Dr. Harold] Bornstein wrote.
If Trump has eviscerated traditional norms about releasing tax information as the presumptive nominee, he’s done the same with health disclosure.
His father, Fred Trump, died at the age of 93, but he suffering in his final years from Alzheimer’s disease, and so it’s worth knowing if Donald Trump is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease over the next eight years. Though you might agree with his rhetoric, his statements are sometimes so incoherent (‘I know words…’) and so inconsistent that you wonder sometimes if he suffers from some kind of cognitive impairment. A clean bill of health from a neurologist could help ameliorate that doubt, but it’s an important question. Many advisors to Ronald Reagan (and even his son) admit that the late president may have been suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s in his second term.
Trump, even more than Reagan, is clearly overweight, if not actually obese, and he doesn’t talk about exercise. In fact, he doesn’t look like he’s seen a gym in decades. That’s some contrast after three two-term presidents, all of whom were into physical fitness. With reports that he sent New Jersey governor Chris Christie, an early Trump support, to fetch him some food from McDonald’s, it sounds like he doesn’t really care much about nutrition, either.
Matt Drudge runs a siren at his eponymous website every time Clinton coughs in public, it seems, and the 69-year-old former US secretary of state’s health has been a topic with which the conservative press has been fixated. Bernie Sanders, the 75-year-old senator from Vermont who contested the Democratic presidential nominating contest, received some negative press about his own advanced age. Questions about Clinton and Sanders seem fair. Given the questions still surrounding Reagan’s health, it’s important to know that your president is fit enough to serve for four or, potentially, eight years. It’s a stressful job.
But where is the public scrutiny of Trump’s health? I haven’t seen it.