Trump’s ramp incident is a reminder that we know less about his health than ever

President Trump's health returned to the fore after his commencement address at West Point.
President Trump’s health returned to the fore after his commencement address at West Point.

John Minchillo/Getty Images

  • Trump’s health has been the subject of speculation on social media since he gingerly descended down a ramp following his West Point commencement address.

  • He also drank a cup of water with two hands after failing to raise it far enough with his right arm alone.

  • While there isn’t much evidence to back up various theories that Trump had a stroke or is suffering from some other condition, there are very few facts available about his health.

  • After Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed hospital in November, only a handful of stats were released from his annual physical on June 3.

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President Donald Trump turned 74 yesterday, the oldest any US president has been during a first term in office.

The day before, his ginger descent down a ramp after delivering the West Point commencement address sparked rampant speculation online about his health. 


Back in November 2019, Trump made an abrupt visit to Walter Reed hospital for what the White House described as a head start on his annual physical, which was completed months later.

While there may not be much evidence to back up those support the theories online — from Trump having suffered a stroke to experiencing some form of dementia — there also isn’t much out there to counter them.

Trump released no health information in the 2016 campaign beyond a hyperbolic letter he dictated to the internet famous Dr. Harold Bornstein, declaring him “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Dr. Harold Bornstein later came out to say Trump "dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter."
Dr. Harold Bornstein later came out to say Trump “dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter.”

Screenshot via NBC News

Bornstein has also claimed that his office was “raided” by Trump’s former body guard, Keith Schiller, in an effort to take any of Trump’s medical records lying around.

Since then, Trump has had the White House physician release a memo describing his annual physical. 

The latest memo included minimal vital information, less than even past memos about his health, along with a summary of Trump’s brief hydroxychloroquine regimen.

Trump’s weight went up one pound to 244, making him clinically obese for the second year in a row. His cholesterol ticked down, but other than that, not much more was included aside from his height and an EKG summary of his hydroxychloroquine use. 

Past memos about Trump’s health have included notes about medications Trump was taking, and his heart disease and cholesterol regimens, but the most recent is lacking that information, other than the section confirming his hydroxychloroquine use.

The amount of medical information available about Trump pales in comparison to past presidential candidates and sitting presidents in the modern era. 

Trump’s two most recent predecessors had much more detailed memos released on their health.

When Barack Obama was in office, the White House released detailed memos that included information about a test for prostate cancer, his nicotine gum use, and an anti-malarial drug he took for global travel. George W. Bush’s physical noted one year that he was in the “top 2% of men his age for cardiovascular fitness,” and that he enjoyed an occasional cigar.

Trump’s 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, had actual records released in December 2019 detailing his health. 



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