Donald Trump discussed his personal health during a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show” on Wednesday morning and shared some of the results of his most recent physical examination, according to the show, not long after top campaign aides told reporters that he would not release any records on set and planned to talk about general wellness, not his personal health history.
After the taping, the show emailed reporters a photo of Oz studying at least two pieces of paper as he sat next to Trump. But it remains unclear what those pieces of paper are and whether Trump plans to release more detailed health records. The campaign has yet to respond to requests for those records.
The episode featuring Trump will not air until Thursday, and reporters were not allowed to attend the taping. According to a press release from the show, Trump shared the results from a physical examination performed last week by Dr. Harold Bornstein of Manhattan. The show did not disclose what those results were.
Oz also took Trump through a review of his major systems, along with his family medical history and a history of cancer, according to the release, which did not include Trump’s answers. The description of the taping provided by the show was at odds with what the Trump campaign said would happen.
On Monday – the day after Hillary Clinton became ill at a 9/11 memorial ceremony – Trump, 70, announced on Fox News that he underwent a physical last week and would release the “very, very specific” results this week. He spoke of his health with great confidence and said that he finds the campaign trail “very invigorating,” not exhausting. He also bragged that he has a busier campaign schedule than Clinton, an assertion that has been challenged.
On Tuesday, Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that “more detailed records will be released later this week.” On Wednesday morning, the campaign told reporters that the records would be released “soon” but would not say when. They also would not say what sort of information Trump would release and how comprehensive it would be.
Oz said on Fox News Radio on Tuesday that he didn’t expect Trump to release any embarrassing information during the show.
“It’s his decision,” Oz said in the interview. “The metaphor for me is it’s the doctor’s office, the studio. So I’m not going to ask him questions he doesn’t want to have answered.”
Later that day, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway confirmed in an interview with MSNBC that the focus of the interview would be Trump’s health report – although she indicated that the information that Trump planned to release might not be extensive.
“I’m with Dr. Oz and millions of Americans on this. I don’t know why we need such extensive medical reporting when we all have a right to privacy,” Conway said on MSNBC, then launched into an attack on President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.
The campaign faced some mocking for selecting “The Dr. Oz Show” as the forum to discuss the candidate’s health. The celebrity doctor’s credibility has been questioned in recent years. In 2014, Oz appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about weight-loss product fraud and was grilled by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who accused him of being part of the problem. That year, the British Medical Journal published a study analyzing Oz’s claims and found that medical research either didn’t substantiate or contradicted more than half of Oz’s recommendations.
If Trump wins, he will become the oldest president ever elected. In December, Trump released a four-paragraph letter signed by Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan that contained few specifics but declared that Trump would “be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Bornstein, a gastroenterological specialist based in Manhattan, told NBC News last month that he composed the letter in about five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate to collect the letter waited outside. When asked how he could justify saying that Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” Bornstein told NBC that some presidents had dementia, tumors or were “paranoid” or “psychotic.”
“All the rest of them are either sick or dead,” Bornstein said.
The brief letter paled in comparison to the more than 1,000 pages of medical records released in May 2008 by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was then 71 and went on to become the Republican nominee. The records detailed eight years of care McCain received while fighting cancer. For months, Trump has subtly attacked Clinton’s health, saying that the 68-year-old former secretary of state doesn’t have the “strength” or “stamina” for the presidency and accusing her of being “exhausted” and sleeping too much. Clinton’s campaign said she plans to soon release more information about her health.
Conway said Tuesday that Trump had a physical late last week, although she didn’t know whether it was with Bornstein. She said the health of the candidates is “an important issue” but that Clinton is the one who owes the public more information.
“I think that there’s one candidate in this race who’s had recent health challenges that we all saw,” Conway said. “I agree with Donald Trump on this. … We’re glad Hillary Clinton says she’s feeling better and she’ll be back on the campaign trail soon, but the question remains: If this is about transparency and medical records and health conditions, then why was she so forted in the business of concealment here?”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Jenna Johnson