What We'll Learn From Trump's Physical —and What We Won't

His mental health won't be under review, says White House
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2018 8:28 AM CST
What We'll Learn From Trump's Physical —and What We Won't
President Donald Trump stands for the National Anthem before the start of the NCAA National Championship game between Georgia and Alabama, Monday, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Trump heads to a doctor Friday for his presidential physical, with the results to be released afterward. But the exam won't touch on the current presidential health issue du jour—the question of Trump's mental fitness. Unlike the average 71-year-old, Trump will not undergo mental health checks or Medicare's standard wellness checks for safety risks including depression at Maryland's Walter Reed Medical Center, reports Politico. "He's sharp as a tack. He's a workhorse, and he demands his staff be the same way," says White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley. The physical—performed by White House physician and Navy serviceman Ronny Jackson—is likely to involve checks of height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, a review of medications, and a blood test.

Public health experts have argued this is insufficient, reports CNN. A White House physician to Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush previously suggested presidential physicals should evaluate "alertness, cognitive function, judgment, appropriate behavior, the ability to choose among options and the ability to communicate clearly" to reveal whether a president is unfit. However, even a standard physical exam isn't required of presidents, who must sign off on all health information released; past presidents including John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have successfully kept their ailments quiet. Should Trump undergo cognitive tests, leaks are unlikely. "It's the commander in chief being examined by active military doctors" who "know they shouldn't be blabbing to reporters," a bioethicist tells Politico. (More President Trump stories.)

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