Dr. Harold Bornstein is an eccentric gastroenterologist living in Manhattan’s Upper East side, the kind of doctor who can perform an entire physical in the back of a limo in just 5 minutes for short-fingered vulgarians without the time, attention spans or patience to visit an actual general practitioner’s office. Now, Trump’s personal physician has gone on the record for the first time since the election, and his bizarre interview is making waves with his ‘live and let die’ attitude towards the President-elect’s health:
“If something happens to him [Trump], then it happens to him. It’s like all the rest of us, no? That’s why we have a vice president and a speaker of the House and a whole line of people. They can just keep dying,” he said.
Dr. Bornstein also revealed that beyond quirks like his business cards identifying him as a “dottore molto famoso” in Italian (a famous doctor, indeed), there are also more than a few causes for concern about nepotism, and his bizarrely vague but possibly revelatory comments about pre-senile dementia and Nancy Reagan’s role as First Lady in the 1980s:
On doctor-patient nepotism:Bornstein told STAT that aside from a photo of him and Trump in his office, he didn’t publicize their relationship or use his celebrity adjacency for any perks, and that he’s only asked Trump for one thing: a job for his 18-year-old son volunteering with the campaign.
On Trump’s age:“It never occurred to me that he was the oldest president, not for a second,” Bornstein said, adding that Trump isn’t “an old man the way grandfather was an old man.” (This apparently runs counter to Trump’s former opponent, Hillary Clinton, who he deemed “an old lady.”)
On whether presidents have an obligation to regularly share details of their health:
“Ronald Reagan had pre-senile dementia. I mean, seriously, did they share that one with you, or did Nancy just cover it up?”
The Daily Kos responded to Dr. Bornstein’s unusual statement above with a story entitled, “Trump’s doctor suggests Reagan proved it’s OK to cover up a President’s pre-senile dementia.”
There is no actual evidence to support Dr. Bornstein’s cover-up theory surrounding Ronald Reagan’s presidency – aside from the actual cover-ups like Iran-Contra affair where illegal email deletion was first invented by Republicans – or any untoward acts related to Presidential health by the First Lady.
One thing is certain; Ronald Reagan’s mental health during his second term of office definitely remains a medical mystery, and the mainstream media is still parsing his words for signs of early Alzheimers, to which opponents attributed the Republican’s behaviors; one of which eerily describes Donald Trump’s behavior today, “His adversaries often suggested his penchant for contradictory statements, forgetting names and seeming absent-mindedness.”
However, even Ronald Reagan’s own son said in 2011 that he believed the Republican icon had presenile dementia or Alzheimer’s while he was still in office. In 2000, CBS newswoman Leslie Stahl revealed that she nearly reported on national television that the President was senile all the way back in 1986 writing in a memoir:
Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet. My heart began to hammer with the import…I was aware of the delicacy with which I would have to write my script. But I was quite sure of my diagnosis.
Ultimately, Stahl withheld that report because the President “snapped back,” which she confirmed as a common behavior via Reagan’s White House staff and concluding ultimately that, “Reagan seemed to ‘recover’—I decided I could not go out on the White House lawn and tell the public what his behavior meant. So I never did a report.”
Even more certain, is that Donald Trump has a documented family history of Alzheimer’s disease, which is sufficient for the New York Times to report that the disease ravaged the final years of his father, Fred Trump’s life. Even great wealth cannot shield people from genetics, and Alzheimer’s is believed to have meaningful genetic risk factors.
America just elected a President whose daily behaviors scream the presence of a disordered mind, but without a real diagnosis from an actually reputable Doctor or Psychiatrist, nobody will know if the eccentric Doctor is really hinting at a more serious medical problem or that he’s yet another one of Trump’s “best people” using the national spotlight to spread the medical equivalent of fake news.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition