President Trump needs to lose 10 to 15 pounds but is generally in excellent health and has no problems “whatsoever” with his mental ability, his official military doctor said Tuesday. Dr. Ronny Jackson predicted that Trump would stay in good health throughout his time in office, even if it stretches to a second term.
“Absolutely he’s fit for duty,” Jackson told reporters at the White House. “I think he will remain fit for duty for the remainder of this term, and even for the remainder of another term if he’s elected.”
Jackson said that he had not planned to run cognitive tests on the 71-year-old president, but that the patient had insisted. Trump’s perfect 30 out of 30 score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment rules out issues like Alzheimer’s or early onset dementia, the doctor said.
The simple, 10-minute test requires a patient to draw a clock with the hands telling a specific time, as well as to identify a series of animals, and repeat some sentences.
“It screens for all those things. it screens for any type of cognitive issues, you know, Alzheimer’s and all those other things,” Jackson said.
“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think that the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process.”
Jackson disclosed that the president himself had directed him to answer every question from reporters — an apparent effort to dispel stubborn rumors that Trump’s mental state has deteriorated. The White House’s eagerness to quiet that talk led Trump to undergo what was thought to be the first formal cognitive test administered to a sitting U.S. president.
“There’s absolutely nothing that I’m withholding from this,” the doctor said.
The doctor, who holds the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and has led the White House medical team since 2013, declined to condemn Trump’s television habits, and sidestepped a question about whether the president would cut his ice cream intake. “I don’t limit his diet,” Jackson said.
The briefing came after Jackson and 12 consultants and specialists ran a battery of tests on the president over roughly four hours on Friday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just outside of Washington.
Trump measures 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 239 pounds, making him borderline obese, the doctor said. He takes Crestor to lower his cholesterol and Propecia to battle male-pattern hair loss, as well as another medication to treat rosacea (a common skin condition characterized by redness, typically on the face) as well as a multivitamin for general health.
“He would benefit from a diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates,” coupled with exercise, to reduce his weight, Jackson said. “A reasonable goal over the next year or so is to lose 10 to 15 pounds.”
The doctor added: “He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we’re going to do both.”
Despite his well-documented fondness for fast food, Trump benefits from a lifetime of abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, as well as “incredible genes,” giving him better-than-average heart health, the doctor said.
Jackson blamed himself for a Dec. 6 incident in which the president appeared to slur his words during a speech on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“I had given the president some medication, specifically some Sudafed over the days previous, and I think I had inadvertently, kind of, dried up his secretions more than I intended to,” he said.
Jackson said Trump was “a good patient” who “doesn’t come to me for Band-Aids or things of that nature.”
But “he’s just like every other president I’ve taken care of: On occasion I have to get the first lady involved to make sure that he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing,” Jackson said.
Trump may undergo a colonoscopy at his next physical examination next year, and could be sedated, the doctor said. That could lead the president to temporarily pass powers to Vice President Mike Pence. President George W. Bush put Vice President Dick Cheney in charge for a couple of hours in 2002 and 2007 while the commander in chief underwent colonoscopies.
Asked to guess Trump’s life expectancy, Jackson declined to comment specifically but declared: “He probably won’t live to be 200.”
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