White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson told reporters on Tuesday that President Trump is in “excellent” health and has “no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever.” But that didn’t stop the press corps from asking a lot of really stupid questions. Here’s a sampling.
1. One reporter asked the White House physician how Trump can become as fit as Obama — who struggled to kick a smoking habit. He then proceeded to whine that the press office doesn’t keep a tally of how much time Trump spends on the golf course and asked if Jackson could help them with that.
2. CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Jackson if a cognitive exam is the same as a psychiatric one. The answer is no.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin is on the case!
Trump got a cognitive test not a psychiatric exam. Does not rule out most of what's in DSM
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) January 16, 2018
3. At one point a reporter asked about Trump’s dietary habits — citing the oft-reported anecdotes of the president’s Diet Coke addiction and frequent trips to McDonald’s — and demanded an explanation for how a man who likes fast food so much could be in good health.
“It’s called genetics,” Jackson replied.
Reporter: Can you explain to me how a guy who eats McDonald's and KFC and drinks all those diet cokes and never exercises is in as good a shape as you say he's in?
Doctor: It's called genetics pic.twitter.com/x7OnIkwAkn
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) January 16, 2018
4. Another asked about Trump’s ice cream allowance.
"Is he limited to one scoop of ice cream now?" reporter asks presidential doctor.
— Gabby Morrongiello (@gabriellahope_) January 16, 2018
5. Others expressed skepticism that the president weighs in at 239 pounds, even going so far as to wonder aloud if Trump would publicly step on a scale to prove it.
Seeing a lot of skepticism over the idea that @realDonaldTrump weighs only 239 pounds. Would he step on a scale in public to prove it?
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) January 16, 2018
The White House physician explained that Trump insisted his cognitive abilities be tested, despite objections from Jackson, who did not think it was necessary. This decision could be in response to repeated questions about his mental health raised among the news media and frequent armchair diagnoses from mental health professionals who have never personally examined Trump or even met him.
Jackson assured the reporters present that Trump got a perfect score on the cognitive exam he administered, which he says is a sensitive enough test to detect any mental or cognitive issue. Shortly thereafter, reporters proceeded to ask whether the president is crazy at least 22 times, according to Grabien News.
6. “Are you ruling out things like early-onset Alzheimer’s?” one reporter asked. “Are you looking at dementia-like symptoms?”
7. Another asked if Trump takes Ambien when he’s at the White House.
8. “Are you part of the decision-making process on handing over power to the vice president or whoever?” one reporter asked Jackson.
9. Another compared Trump to Ronald Reagan and asked if the president has Alzheimers.
Given the president’s age, he’s somewhere like where President Reagan was. Can you say that there’s scrutiny of what was overlooked at the time with president Reagan in terms of A.L.S. and things he was then known to — Alzheimer’s and things he was then know to — known to suffer from. Can you say whether the tests you ran would exclude some of those things and what the possibility of overlooking something like that would be? How can you tell the American people that this time you’re certain?
10. One reporter asked if there’s anything about Trump’s health being kept a secret or hidden from the press: “There isn’t anything that’s a part of the president’s health records or his overall physical fitness or any medications that he’s taking that you’re not permitted to tell us? Is there anything you’re keeping from us for privacy reasons?”
Never change, Brian Stelter.
Here's how the next few hours will go. Trump supporters will say "Concerns about Trump's mental health were always absurd. Case closed now." The obvious response: "The Q's about fitness for office are serious. Someone could be sharp as a tack, but still unfit"
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 16, 2018
You can watch the full briefing here. Questions start at the 10-minute mark.