Donald Trump

Public Disclosure of Presidential Illnesses

A useful summary of how White Houses are not always forthcoming about medical issues afflicting Presidents.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Is the White House releasing timely and accurate information about the President's medical condition? There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. This White House is anything but a model of transparency. Moreover, as detailed in this David Priess article in Lawfare, "candor about presidential ailments has been more the exception than the rule." Throughout history, presidential administrations "have routinely and often blatantly withheld crucial medical diagnoses and data from public view."

From the article:

Four of Trump's 43 predecessors ultimately died of natural causes while in office, and many more of them faced serious illnesses or other disabling conditions during at least part of their tenure. Uncertainty about this president's health, however, remains higher than most, even after significant advances in press reporting on medical issues. Mystery, for example, still surrounds Trump's unannounced trip to Walter Reed in November 2019.

Legitimate security concerns understandably would limit public disclosure of minute-by-minute developments in a deathbed situation, but the president's health appears to remain far from that scenario. This rough start and the history of presidential ailments combine to suggest that Americans shouldn't expect robust public disclosures. Depending on how Trump's illness progresses, months, even years, could pass before the truth comes out.

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  1. This is situation is different from all the others. Deceit or underreporting of Trump’s Covid-19 sickness is not motivated by “national security reasons” but rather by “comeuppance”, “embarrassment”, “hoist on his own petard” and “thousands of Americans’ blood on his hands” reasons.

    1. Why is there no blood on any governor’s hands?

      1. Because you can’t tell it from the blood of hundreds of thousands of babies?

        1. I like my clingers flailing, desperate, and disaffected.

          And it isn’t even January yet.

      2. Flagged this comment accidentally

      3. Obsessed haters haven’t developed an obsession with a governor yet.

  2. 95% 0f people over 67-74 years of age contracting coronavirus live. Probably most of the survivors did not have the medical care available to President Trump. Since other conditions like gross obesity, heart conditions, diabetes, or lung problems increase the threat of death among those who do die, it would appear that the President’s chances are actually better than 95%, even if he went to a private doctor.
    Of course he will get better, in spite of the wishes of those who hoped he would die in 2017.

    1. Those who wanted an incompetent and easily manipulated U.S. certainly wanted him alive.

      1. Really? With 47 years of proof about Binden?
        Or are you already thing Kween Kamala?

        1. thing = thinking

          (maybe)

    2. Survival, as you note, is a high probability, especially as he is most surely getting effective interventions, antivirals and convalescent plasma, that your average VIP would not.

      But still I wish him a long, lingering, symptomatic stay in the penumbra of the 25th amendment.

  3. “Depending on how Trump’s illness progresses, months, even years, could pass before the truth comes out.”

    After the inauguration in January, who will care?

  4. Now we see that the President’s physician, unwittingly, admitted that he actually tested positive around noon Wednesday.

    https://www.axios.com/trump-coronavirus-doctor-briefing-conley-8f430db2-fcbb-4c37-9313-bf6d89aac3b7.html

    Here it is noon Saturday and he is “72 hours into his diagnosis”.

    After he tested positive, he went to fundraisers in Minnesota and New Jersey, maskless, shaking the hands of people who, because they were Republicans and therefore just as stupid, were also maskless.

    Somebody obviously prodded him to finally come clean Friday morning, else he would still be travelling the country, gleefully pressing the flesh, spreading around his “good will”.

    1. “around noon Wednesday.”

      Fake news.

      The doctor misspoke, he issued a statement saying he meant Day 3, not 72 hours. Specifically saying Thursday evening for the positive test results and Friday for the antibody cocktail.

      1. We know from past experience that Trump’s doctors lie. In this case it looks like the truth slipped out and someone leaned heavy on this guy to “correct”.

        1. Bah, he is a navy officer too.

          I realize you are perfect but people make mistakes. There were statements prior to the press conference that also said Thursday for results and Friday for the cocktail.

          1. We’ll know either way in 4 days. That’s the best we can do with this lot.

    2. It’s possible they have an experimental, unreliable (known high positive) initial screening test. The US Army did that with AIDS — you had to flunk it *twice* before they would even do the expensive test that was accurate.

  5. The general question is different from the specific question.

    I dunno about the general question; I’m skeptical about the national security import now that we don’t have the USSR on a hair trigger.

    This Admin, on the other hand, reflexively lies big, and almost always fails at it and the truth is immediately leaked.
    This is a blanket thing, unrelated specifically to the President’s health. They’ve pissed away their credibility so we’ll all have to wait and see what the facts end up being when someone writes a damn book about it.

    1. “I’m skeptical about the national security import now that we don’t have the USSR on a hair trigger.”

      Ike had a heart attack in Denver in 1955 and spent 45 days in a hospital there, with less types of communications than now.

      This is nothing.

      1. Another difference is, Ike was the one who actually made the big decisions, like whether to go to war. Trump has no such authority in his own White House. He is a toddler whom his aides take care of; according to several former aides, they agreed to ignore him whenever he ordered something crazy, and with his child’s attention span he never bothered to follow up on whether his orders were put into effect. And that’s when he’s healthy and in his office.

          1. What captcrisis describes happened multiple times, Bob. Indeed the strongest impeachment defense in Trump’s favor was his aides regularly ignored all the most improper & unethical orders. That – and the fact Trump treats everyone like dirt – probably explains the continuous flow of scathing books from former associates.

            Which brings up an interesting point : We already know so much damning information about President Dumpster-Fire right now, despite the fact that he still has power and all the GOP cowers before his tweets. Can you imagine the deluge of feces that will emerge re this sleazy buffoon once he’s just another private citizen (fighting multiple indictments)?

            How will his cultists, lickspittles & toadies react?

            1. That explains why he wants to invalidate the election if he loses.

              He is genuinely afraid of his criminal exposure when he leaves office.

              My guess is, Republicans will not defend him, but they will not condemn him, because they were so obviously complicit. They will ignore him.

      2. Yeah – and they pulled it off because they were trusted and not some bumbling mass of grifters and leakers.

    2. Previous admin lied all the time and the news media helped them cover it up every time.

      1. 1) They lied about Presidential health during in the Cold War, not all the time reflexively and even when there was no need.

        2) They were also a lot better at it than this shambolic mess

        3) The above two means we get all of the benefits of a destabalizing event even if the President is in no danger.

        4) Not that it matters; it’s not the Cold War, no one is monitoring us waiting to strike.

        1. ” Not that it matters; it’s not the Cold War, no one is monitoring us waiting to strike.”

          9-11-2001….

          1. Yeah, they totally waited until Bush was incapacitated on that one.

            Read better.

  6. I realize that he is over 70 and obese, but have you ever heard of someone being hospitalized for what their physician described as “minor [COVID] symptoms”? I realize that he can get just about anyone to lie for him and that he can easily use HIPPA to silence anyone he wants. Lying vs extremely special treatment?

    1. “extremely special treatment”

      Yes, he is the President.

      He has a whole always ready suite at Walter Reed, with his own ICU if needed and a secure conference room. Office space for his chief of staff too.

      Easier to keep people away from him there. Meaning more rest for him and less contacts to infect.

      Obviously its not something just about anyone else can get. You are free to think he is very sick and his doctor is lying if you wish.

      1. Bob: Infection control in a spacious top-dollar 21’s Century hospital versus a crowded 200-year-old building. Which do you think is easier?

        Let’s start with negative air pressure, a principle of isolation. The White House doesn’t have that. Etc., etc., etc…

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