The White House has announced that President Trump will have a medical examination in “the first part of next year,” and the results will be made public. The announcement appears calculated to calm renewed Trump dementia fears, which resurfaced after the president apparently slurred his words in a speech last week.
In a speech last week, the president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking both anger and joy in the Middle East. But at home, Trump’s Israel speech has been overshadowed by the way the President delivered it. Towards the end of the speech, the president began to slur his words, stumbling over “s” and “th” sounds and pronouncing “United States” as “United Schthates.”
In the wake of the speech, many speculated that the president was having issues with either his dental hardware or his mental health. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied both rumors, telling reporters, “His throat was dry. There’s nothing to it.” She added that further speculation was “ridiculous.” However, Huckabee Sanders continued, the president has a routine medical exam scheduled for “the first part of next year.” The president will undergo his physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, and his records will be released to the public following his examination.
This is the first time that the public will be able to see a detailed report on Trump’s health. While past presidents have generally undergone regular annual physical exams, Trump has thus far forgone that tradition. The only current public record of the president’s health is a letter written by gastroenterologist Dr. Harold Bornstein in 2015, stating that Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” However, the accuracy of the letter is in some doubt, as Bornstein later said that he had written it in five minutes “while [Trump’s] driver waited.”
The full Trump health letter, addressed "To Whom My Concern" pic.twitter.com/iCZqwW3mwX
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 14, 2015
After the president’s slurred speech, medical professionals weighed in on whether the president had suffered some sort of neurological damage. Most believed that a stroke was unlikely because the president was able to walk to his seat directly afterward. But brain specialist Ford Vox said that the president’s apparent problems with impulse control, attention, memory, and language might indicate dementia.
This is not the first time the president has faced allegations that he is cognitively impaired. In May of this year, STAT did a review of the president’s speech patterns in the decades he’s been appearing on television and found a steady decline in vocabulary and sentence complexity. Several linguistic experts called in to review the analysis said that these changes might reflect cognitive decline, although they also mentioned that the decline could also reflect anger or stress. Many have also noted that the President’s father, Joe Trump, suffered from Alzheimer’s for six years before he died.
Trump’s Israel speech mistakes come at a poor time for the president. Recently, his judgement has come into question after a recent tweet where he appeared to admit to obstruction of justice, and his health has come into question after insiders told the press that he drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day and his typical McDonald’s order consists of “two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fishes, and a chocolate milkshake.” It remains to be seen whether the recent Trump dementia fears will become another “yuge” issue for the embattled president.
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