The 80 Questions White House Reporters Asked Dr. Ronny Jackson About Donald Trump’s Health

White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Donald Trump’s military doctor Dr. Ronny Jackson conducted a physical exam of the president’s health and although the results were “excellent,” he answered questions about the president’s health at the White House press briefing on Tuesday.

Dr. Jackson stood at the podium and answered questions from reporters for over 50 minutes, reassuring them that the president was healthy, he did not wear dentures, he did not have heart disease, and was mentally fit for duty.

Here are the 80 questions that were asked.

  1. Dr. Jackson, how much weight have you suggested the President lose? And he has not exactly been enthusiastic about exercising. The President kind of believes that we all have a finite battery — why waste it on exercising when you can put it toward other pursuits. What did you counsel him about that?
  2. There have been some questions as part of your exam — I’m wondering if you talked to the President about this — about the President’s mental fitness. He has pushed back on that calling himself a “stable genius”. Can you assess the President’s mental fitness for office?
  3. So to follow up, the President’s personal doctor memorably said during the campaign that he would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Do you agree with that assessment?
  4. There was an incident recently where the President appeared to slur his words while giving an address. Did you look into what the cause of that might have been at all?
  5. Just to follow up, some people have suggested that could be related to dentures. Does the President wear dentures?
  6. I wanted to ask you two questions, one is about the ejection fraction. My wife suffers from that so I clued in on the 60 percent. Is that a concern going forward for him because that, in some cases, indicates low activity in the heart?
  7. A second follow up on the cholesterol. Over 220, do you hope to get it under 200?
  8. Anyway, with the low — I understand that the blood pressure was within norms, but with the high cholesterol, are there any concerns for his heart health?
  9. Dr. Jackson, thank you. Could you just elaborate, in layman’s terms, if possible — and you’ve been doing a great job of that — what you ruled out in these cognitive tests?
  10. And the tips part? Did you recommend he make any changes — lifestyle, behavioral, anything?
  11. You ordered some pretty intensive tests, including a CT scan of his chest and a transesophageal echocardiogram. Did he need to be sedated at all? Was there something you were worried about specifically in giving the CT scan?
  12. And he does have heart disease, is that what you said? Because he had a CT scan before that showed calcium in his coronary blood vessels.
  13. Dr. Jackson, if I might ask a question that follows on the philosophy of the fitness of the President — The 25th Amendment, a lot of people in the country have been talking about it. It basically contemplates that a group of Senate-confirmed laymen will weigh in on whether the President is able to discharge the duties of the office. You, as the President’s physician, have certainly given this some thought over the years since you’ve been in your role. On what basis would you — and this is just a philosophical question — advise the Cabinet that the President is unable to discharge his duties? How does that bar get met?
  14. Do believe he is fit for duty?
  15. How can you determine that? Yeah, how can you determine that for the whole — I mean, you can’t determine it for four years out, right?
  16. So you talked about dealing with President Trump on a daily basis. Can you talk a bit about him as a patient, like what type of patient he is?
  17. Does he take all of your advice?
  18. And you also talked about — since you were dealing with him on a daily basis, has he had any ongoing illness or anything like that?
  19. You talked about giving him Sudafed. Sometimes it sounds like he has the sniffles when he’s talking. Does he have any allergies or anything like that?
  20. Dr. Jackson, just to make sure we’re clear on this — when you analyzed his cognitive ability or neurological functions, that is not the same thing as a psychiatric exam or psychological exam, correct?
  21. Dr. Jackson, does the President do anything at all right now in terms of exercise? What is his daily exercise routine, if there is one?
  22. You said you were discussing that with him. What are you discussing? What would you like to see him start doing?
  23. But can you explain to me how a guy who eats McDonald’s and (inaudible) and all those diet cokes and who never exercises, is in as good as shape as you say he’s in?
  24. Oh, thank you. You mentioned that you gave the President a cognitive test. Was that the Mini-Mental State Examination or the (inaudible) test? And if not, can you tell us what specific cognitive test you gave him?
  25. Thanks very much. Just a couple of things. Do you have a life-expectancy range for him based on his results?
  26. Number two, what exactly does the exercise and eating plan look like?
  27. Is it you’re going to put an elliptical machine next to the bedroom and he’s going to use it? What does that look like?
  28. Did you see any evidence of bone spurs, which the President said that he suffered from?
  29. The specifics of the dietary and exercise plan — what’s in store?
  30.  Is he limited to one scoop of ice cream now?
  31. Dr. Jackson, one follow-up question. There isn’t anything that’s a part of the President’s health records or his overall physical fitness, or any medications that he’s taking that you’re not permitted to tell us? Is there anything you’re keeping from us for privacy reasons?
  32. Doctor, can you say — given the President’s age, he’s somewhat of a peer to where President Reagan was at this time in his presidency. Can you say — given that there is scrutiny of what was overlooked at the time with President Reagan, in terms of Alzheimer’s and things he was then known to suffer from at a later date, can you say whether the test that you ran would exclude any of those things and what the possibility of overlooking something like that would be? You know, how can you tell the American people that this time you’re certain?
  33. Can I ask a quick question about PSAs? Are you confident of his prostate health? You recited a very low PSA. Are you certain that’s not a product of finasteride masking?
  34. Dr. Jackson, did you take a waist measurement for the President? His weight — I think you said 239, right? That seems — I think that’s just shy of obesity, right? So you’re confident of that number, and did you do any measurements?
  35. Because of his age, will you conduct cognitive testing in the future? Because of his age, in continuing his physicals in the future, will you also continue the cognitive testing?
  36. Dr. Jackson, it’s recommended that most baby boomers get screened for hepatitis C. Did you do a hep C test, or has he had one previously?
  37. Doctor, thank you. You talked a little bit about his diet here at the White House. Can you flesh that out a little bit? What specifically is he eating? Is he eating lots of chicken and fishes and white meat?
  38. Does he take any sleep aids? What about here at the White House? Just when he travels?
  39. How much sleep does he get, on average?
  40. Dr. Jackson, can you say whether your prediction of good health and no serious events for years to come still holds if the President does not make changes to his diet and starts to exercise? Is that still your professional medical opinion? And then, also, can you just tell us how long the examination was, sort of, start to finish, and how many people were involved?
  41. How long was the entire — the entirety of the exam? And how many people were involved?
  42. Thank you, Dr. Jackson. Was there anything that the President or anyone else specifically said for you not to mention today?
  43. And just to follow up on that, some of the President’s friends have told reporters in the past that they think he’s a germophobe, that he washes his hands obsessively and is concerned about that. Have you seen any indication of that type of behavior being around the President?
  44. How would you characterize the President’s health to an average 71-year-old American male?
  45. Is that just cardiac, or is it everything?
  46. Just to be clear, though, Dr. Jackson, he is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, he has evidence of heart disease, and he’s borderline obese. Can you characterize that as excellent health?
  47. You said there were some stroke concerns? You just said there were stroke concerns as well?
  48. What about potential diabetic changes as a result of his weight?
  49. I know his pressure is real good, but what about potential because of the weight as he gets older?
  50. Did you test his hearing?
  51. Does the President — when the President has his colonoscopy at the next physical, will he be sedated?
  52. And when that happens, are you a part of the decision-making process on handing over power to the Vice President or whoever while he’s sedated?
  53. Dr. Jackson, thank you. You say that the President was the one who requested the cognitive test, that it wasn’t necessarily needed for someone of his age. Did you — did he tell you why he wanted it done? There’s been a lot of speculation out there about his cognitive state. Was he upset with some of that talk? What were the discussions that you had from when he told you, “this is why I want to do it”? Why did he say he wanted to do it?
  54. Was there any one incident that kind of made him say, hey, this is something I want to do, or was it just a collection of voices of criticisms? No, I mean, like outside criticisms?
  55. On the President’s stress level, in your conversations in your examinations, did he express any change in how stressful this job, or lack of stress that he has experienced as a result of becoming President?
  56. And if I could follow up on the questions of a few of my colleagues regarding an exercise routine for the President. You said you’ve had these conversations with him. Could you take us through some specific exercises that you and the President are considering as you look at this routine?
  57. Does he watch too much TV? From a sedentary lifestyle sort of perspective, should he cut back on that? But you get why I’m asking, because of the seated sort of aspect of television-watching versus the active lifestyle part of it.
  58. Doctor, you’ve examined him and performed a cognitive assessment. What is your take of all the doctors and clinicians all across the country who have said that, in this President, they see symptoms of this, that, and the other? Well, symptoms of dementia.
  59. How would you describe his diet before he became President? A lot has been said about too much McDonald’s, too many burgers. Do you think it was problematic?
  60. Thank you. You said you’re not sure how much sleep he gets a night, but you assume it’s between four to five hours. Does that concern you? Would you recommend him to try to get more sleep?
  61. Did you tell the current President about his predecessor’s exercise routine? And does this President ask you about how he could follow his predecessor’s example to be as fit as Barack Obama was?
  62. And a second question, do you keep a tally of how much golf the U.S. President plays? That is something the press office repeatedly does not tell us. Do you keep a tally? And do you consider that exercise?
  63. Dr. Jackson, does the President take any medications that you haven’t disclosed here today?
  64. Can you give us an idea of exactly what that cognitive exam involved over that half hour? And does that conclusively rule out any further psychological exam?
  65. Do you have any concerns about the President’s use of Twitter?
  66. Thank you, Dr. Jackson. The President is the first lifelong teetotaler and nonsmoker to sit in the Oval Office since President Jimmy Carter. Can you say that that’s extended his life in any way and makes him unusually healthier for his age?
  67. Thank you. You mentioned a whole bunch of doctors that participated in Friday’s exam. And there are other questions that were asked today about the President’s emotional health. Is there anyone on the President’s medical team, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, whose job it is to monitor the President’s emotional state or watch for potential psychiatric problems or indicators of those?
  68. Did you make any wellness recommendations to the President against the burnout — mental burnout, first and foremost, like meditation, or mindfulness? Where do you stand on that?
  69. Realistically, what do you think you’re going to get him to do as far as exercise? Tell him I’ll be his exercise buddy if he needs one.
  70. Yes. Thank you, Doctor. Will your office be working with the White House Chef at all, (inaudible) in terms of formulating what kind of diet he’s going to need?
  71. You made a statement saying that you expect the President to be in good health for the duration of his term, or even a second term, if he gets it. Was there a specific request from the President to make that statement, or from anyone in the administration or from anyone in the White House?
  72. You’ve been answering questions here for more than 50 minutes, by my take, which I think is really extraordinary. Is that an indication of the President’s desire to put all these rumors and questions to rest, once and for all?
  73. Will you commit to doing this next year?
  74. Dr. Jackson, just one more question about the Montreal exam and other, sort of, mini mental status exams. They’re pretty good but they’re not really sensitive to someone who’s already high-functioning. They’re not really good at finding early stages of dementia. If the President is worried about it, would you recommend more sophisticated exams?
  75. Are you saying — this is my ignorance — but are we saying that, because of Reagan — all right, we had some of the issues with Reagan — and the issues about this President, cognitive testing, mental acuity testing, is not commonly part of an annual physical with the President of the United States?
  76. With the power that he wields, should it not be?
  77. The President playing golf a lot, almost every weekend. Is that helpful for his health?
  78. Dr. Jackson, thank you. You said he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t smoke, and other than the diet issue, did you address drug addiction?
  79. Thanks. So could you give a sense on how involved the First Family is in this — the First Lady, his daughter, others — in encouraging him to be — step up on the exercise?
  80. My question was, with all the questions that have been asked, going back to that issue, everyone has asked about mental acuity. Those questions have been in the public. And he told Sarah to tell you to stay up here until those questions are answered. Going forward, would you recommend that Presidents undergo that type of testing?


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