Biden chooses women for White House communication 1:04
(WAB NEWS) – Days before Thanksgiving last year, President Donald Trump made an unannounced and unscheduled trip to Walter Reed Medical Center. The White House said the trip was for a “quick test and labs.” We still don’t know why it really was, or what the result of his visit was.
On Sunday, three days after Thanksgiving this year, President-elect Joe Biden slipped and injured his foot while playing with his dog, Major. We were quickly told, through the traveling press group, that Biden was going to see his orthopedist as a precaution. Within two hours, there was a statement from Dr. Kevin O’Connor noting that Biden’s foot had been X-rayed and it appeared as if it had a sprain. However, a CT scan was to be done just to confirm the diagnosis.RELATED
Then 90 minutes after that came this, again from O’Connor: “The initial X-rays showed no obvious fracture, but his clinical examination warranted more detailed images. Follow-up CT scan confirmed (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and medial cuneiform bones, which are located in the midfoot. It is anticipated that you will probably need a walking boot for several weeks.
Do you notice the difference?
Now I, and probably you, don’t know or care much about Joe Biden’s “lateral and middle wedge bones.” But that’s not really the point.
The point is this: transparency in health and, well, everything else, is essential for the functioning of a democracy. And we’ve had the opposite of that for the past four years.
Let’s go back to Trump’s unannounced and still unexplained visit to Walter Reed in November 2019.
The initial explanation, offered by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, for the unannounced visit was as follows: “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the president is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington to begin parts of your annual routine physical at Walter Reed. ‘
Which is strange because the president makes no unscheduled visits to almost any location and certainly not to a hospital for testing. The White House has never offered more explanations about Walter Reed’s trip. But in a book by The New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, which came out last fall, he wrote the following about the incident:
“In the hours leading up to Trump’s trip to the hospital, word spread in the West Wing that the vice president was on hold to temporarily assume the powers of the presidency if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized.” .
Which seems like an odd precaution for a “quick exam and lab analysis,” right? True.
Especially when you consider that we know less about Trump’s medical history than we do about any previous presidential candidate in the modern era.
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Trump published zero medical records when he ran for president in 2016. What he did publish was a letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein, his longtime personal physician, stating simply, “If Mr. Trump is elected, I can unequivocally declare , who is the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency. His physical strength and endurance are extraordinary. (Bornstein later distanced himself from the letter, saying Trump did indeed dictate it.)
Biden, who at 78 is the oldest person ever elected to the White House for a first term (he broke the record set by Trump), released a summary of his medical records in late 2019. At the time, O’Connor wrote that Biden was “a healthy, vigorous man, 77, who is in a position to successfully carry out the duties of the presidency.”
(It’s worth noting: Biden was occasionally enraged when asked about his campaign health. “If you want to check if I’m in shape, let’s do push-ups together, man,” Biden told a man in Iowa in the fall of 2019. “Let’s go for a run, let’s do what you want. Let’s do an IQ test”).
The transparency coming from Biden’s transition team on the small fractures in the president-elect’s foot suggests that the Trump White House’s effort to actively obfuscate when basic questions were asked about the president’s health.
It’s a good start. But only a beginning. Let’s see if the president-elect and his team can remain committed to full transparency about their health for years to come.