Internet Raises Eyebrow at Trump's Height, Weight

And the term 'girther' is born
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2018 7:42 AM CST
Internet Raises Eyebrow at Trump's Height, Weight
In this Dec. 29, 2017, file photo, President Trump smiles as he meets with members of the U.S. Coast Guard.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

That President Trump requested and aced a cognitive exam as part of his first physical as president isn't the detail that's being pored over by the internet. That honor goes to Navy doctor Ronny Jackson's detailing of Trump's height and weight, which Jackson reports as 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, with a goal of dropping 10 to 15 pounds. The Week reports that rumblings quickly began regarding the veracity of those figures, with MSNBC's Chris Hayes inventing a term to describe the skeptical: "Has anyone coined 'girther' for those who belive [sic] the president weighs more than his doctor reports?" he tweeted Tuesday.

  • At Slate, Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust describes the stats overall as unexceptional, but takes exception with what the height and weight produce: body mass index, or BMI. Trump's is 29.9, which Faust notes is a slim 0.1 units—and just one pound—outside the obese category. Faust suggests Trump could have fasted prior to weighing in to help keep himself in the overweight zone, but he doesn't have the same plausible theory when it comes to height. He says Trump has been saying he's 6' 3" for decades—but most adults shrink an inch over that span.

  • Maggie Haberman of the New York Times is skeptical that Trump was at any point 6-foot-3, tweeting, "Reminder that earlier physicals decades ago put Trump height at 6'2". The 6'3" height makes a difference on his BMI from overweight to obese." Others tweeted photos (see here and here) showing former President Obama—reported to be 6-foot-1—standing next to Trump, with both men appearing to be very similar in height.
  • For all those saying the numbers seem off, CNN reports that they're actually pretty standard as far as America goes. It cites the CDC in saying 70.7% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. But it does note that BMI isn't as strong a metric as other measures, as it treats fat and muscle equally. There are other tests designed to determine body composition, but they weren't performed on Trump.
  • The Week flags another line of thought: "that since muscle weighs more than fat, Trump can't possibly weigh the same as professional athletes of roughly the same build." And there are many, which Sports Illustrated outlines in side-by-side photo comparisons here. More here.
  • Jackson, the doctor who declared Trump "has incredibly good genes," per the Washington Post, has cared for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama. NPR has a profile on Rear Adm. Jackson, who has worked with Navy bomb disposal units and is described as answering questions about Trump's health in a "folksy and matter-of-fact" way. He was asked about Trump's apparent prior slurring of words, and brushed it off as dry mouth perhaps triggered by a decongestant. To stave off concern, he had an ear, nose and throat specialist run additional tests, which flagged nothing.
(More President Trump stories.)

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