Even more trustworthy presidents have a murky record when it comes to transparency about their own health.
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff attempted to cover up his first-term heart attack by calling it “a digestive upset during the night.” John F. Kennedy suffered constant pain from degenerative bone disease and was heavily medicated when president. “Steroids for his Addison’s disease,” historian Robert Dallek wrote in 2013, “pain-killers for his back, antispasmodics for his colitis, [and] antibiotics for urinary-tract infections.”
Some people believe it’s unfair to speculate on a politician’s health without gaining access to the politician’s complete medicals. But Trump is not one of those people. During the 2016 campaign, he diagnosed his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, from afar and all but pronounced her medically unfit. “She could be crazy. She could actually be crazy,” Trump said, adding that she lacked the “stamina” to be president and proceeded to imitate Clinton stumbling while stepping into her car after an event. A Trump campaign television ad reprised the theme, using the stumbling video and a voice-over—”Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the fortitude, strength or stamina to lead in our world”—to make the same point.