Normally we defer to the diagnosis of the doctor who’s actually examined the patient, do we not?
Asked directly by Gupta at the briefing if Trump does have heart disease, [Dr. Ronny] Jackson replied, “No, he does not have heart disease.”
Gupta’s not buying it. Here he is this morning on CNN via the Free Beacon:
Does he have a leg to stand on? Well, when you Google “coronary calcium score,” one of the first results that pops up is this page from the University of Maryland Medical Center. Trump’s score, per Jackson, was 133. Here’s what U of M says about that:
“You have heart disease.” Trump’s on the low end of that range, but even the range below his qualifies as “mild heart disease” per U of M. On the other hand, according to a study from 2001 posted on the same page, the 50th percentile for men of Trump’s age is 310. He’s well below that.
I think Gupta and Jackson are more or less saying the same thing, except Gupta’s viewing the glass half-empty while Jackson’s viewing it as half-full. Because Trump’s score is decent for a 71-year-old man and because the dose of the cholesterol medicine he’s on is “very low,” they can easily reduce his calcium further with medication to lower the risk of a heart attack. He does have “coronary atherosclerosis,” Jackson acknowledged, but “heart disease” apparently seems like too strong a term to him to describe Trump’s risk. The president’s not about to keel over. Whereas Gupta is looking at the calcium numbers, at the fact that Trump is already right on the edge of qualifying as obese by BMI measurements, and at the many reports that POTUS eats fast-food detritus all day long and declaring straightforwardedly that he has heart disease. Not a worrisome case, but the numbers are what they are.
The Gupta/Jackson quibble isn’t any fun, though. All the fun this morning is coming from “girthers,” people who think there’s no way that Trump is tipping the scales at only 239 lbs, as Jackson claimed yesterday. Initially the pushback on social media among Trump-haters was of a basic “c’mon, he’s fatter than that!” variety, but within the last 12 hours a more refined conspiracy theory has emerged that Jackson and/or Trump fibbed about his height, not his weight, to fudge his BMI measurements. His New York driver’s license lists him as 6’2; Jackson has him at 6’3. Why might he and Trump want to add an inch? Because, the conspiracy theorists claim, they knew that at 6’3 and 239 lbs, Trump’s BMI would be 29.9, the absolute upper limit for being classified as overweight but not obese, which requires a BMI of 30. Measure Trump at 6’2 and 239 lbs, though, and his BMI would be … 30.7. The difference between 29.9 and 30.7 is utterly negligible but the media would have had a field day with calling Trump “obese.” And so, allege the conspiracy theorists, POTUS added a phantom inch to protect his vanity.
Twitter’s now going to spend the day circulating stuff like this:
According to Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, Trump is 75 inches tall. That's 6'3".
Obama is listed as 6'1". pic.twitter.com/1SAq7keoBP
— Alamo_On_The_Rise 😷🇺🇲 (@AlamoOnTheRise) January 17, 2018
As you might imagine, though, the greatest disappointment among hardcore Trump-haters was Jackson’s clean bill of health for POTUS’s mental acuity. America waited breathlessly and wondered: How would Joe and Mika handle the news that their frenemy Donald is not, in fact, demented and therefore there’ll be no “25th Amendment solution” to their Trump problem? Not well, as it turns out. Not well.