Trump’s troubling behavior raises questions his medical exam didn’t answer

On the face of it, President Trump doesn’t seem like a paragon of health. He’s 71, sedentary and borderline obese, with high cholesterol and a high fat diet. Despite this, through the blessing of “good genes,” says Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor, Trump is in “excellent health” and would more than likely be healthy straight through a second term.

Jackson’s fulsome praise for Trump’s health, including his “cardiac health,” generated widespread skepticism — and it was not limited to Trump’s physical condition. His account of Trump’s cognitive health was misleading as well, leaving the impression that all cognitive problems have been ruled out.

On one hand, we sincerely appreciate that Jackson gave the president a Montreal Cognitive Assessment test (MoCA), as we requested in a letter sent to him by 70 mental health professionals. We have now established the precedent that when enough concerns arise, presidential physicians can be expected to take a closer look at brain function.

But it is important to be clear on what we now know and don’t know about the president’s mental fitness. Jackson portrayed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment as a grueling comprehensive battery. “We picked one of the ones that was a little bit more involved, it was longer.  It was the more difficult one of all of them. It took significantly longer to complete, but the president did exceedingly well on it,” he said.

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