The health of America’s leaders has always been a focal point for the public but perhaps never more so than now. The physical and cognitive health of former President Donald Trump, 77, and President Joe Biden, 80, has entered the national conversation.
Rep. Ronny Jackson, once Trump’s White House physician and now a Texas congressman, recently lauded Trump’s health, despite the former president’s famously unorthodox diet and exercise habits. He cited Trump’s strong cardiac stress test results and emphasized that he could speak for two hours without a teleprompter, which he interpreted as evidence of strong cognitive health.
Jackson served as White House physician under three presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush. But he is notorious for his over-the-top Trump praise and is often mocked because of it.
In January 2018, following an annual physical, Jackson declared Trump’s health to be “very, very good” and even “excellent.” He said, “He was in great shape. I put him on the treadmill and did a cardiac stress test on him. He knocked it out of the water. I mean, he was in the top 10% of everyone his age.”
Such enthusiasm didn’t end there. Jackson once told Trump that with a healthier diet over the past two decades, he might live to be 200.
“He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him,” Jackson said.
The commentary arrived in the context of Biden’s February medical exam, which declared him as “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” The health screening was thorough, including a variety of tests ranging from blood and physical exams to gastrointestinal, dental, vision and neurological evaluations. Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s physician since 2009, characterized him as “healthy and vigorous.”
What makes these evaluations particularly intriguing is the subtle subtext they introduce into the political landscape. With Nikki Haley calling for mandatory mental competency tests for politicians older than 75 and continued debate around the capability of older politicians, the intersection between age, health and fitness for office becomes even more critical.
Each side in this bipartisan arena appears to be using health evaluations as a means to underscore the fitness of their preferred leaders. Jackson now doubles down by contrasting Trump’s capabilities against what he describes as Biden’s deficiencies.
While Jackson is not currently treating Biden, his calls for the president to undergo cognitive testing have received attention because of his previous role.
The question of whether a sitting president should take a cognitive test and release the results is complex. It intersects with ethical considerations, such as patient confidentiality, as well as questions about the criteria used to judge a leader’s fitness for office. The topic is not purely a medical issue but also one that carries political and ethical implications.
The purpose and limitations of health and cognitive assessments must be taken into account. Medical evaluations can detect potential physical and cognitive impairments, but they are not necessarily a measure of capability to govern. Similarly, the ability to deliver long speeches without aid might be an indicator of cognitive well-being, but it isn’t the sole measure of suitability for public office.
The health of a president or presidential hopeful isn’t just a medical matter, it’s a political one. Both parties recognize this, and health narratives will likely continue to be a potent tool for shaping public perception and electoral prospects.
See more on startup investing from Benzinga.
Don’t miss real-time alerts on your stocks – join Benzinga Pro for free! Try the tool that will help you invest smarter, faster, and better.
This article Donald Trump’s Health In ‘Top 10% Of Everyone His Age,’ Says Former White House Doctor — He Could Live To Be 200 Because He Has ‘Incredibly Good Genes — It’s Just The Way God Made Him’ originally appeared on Benzinga.com
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.