02 August, 2021

All The President's Ailments

Donald Trump is the latest is in a long list of US presidents who have tried to hide their health issues

Photograph by AP
All The President's Ailments

An uncomfortable truth peppers American history: presidents have lied about their health. Grave or minor, sometimes it took decades for the public to know. As Donald Trump has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Associated Press notes that pandemics have cursed the presidencies of both Trump and Woodrow Wilson. Each played down the viruses that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Both presidents got sick—and both rationed the news to the public. Wilson’s White House tried to keep his sickness secret. He was in Paris, preparing for the Versailles Treaty, when he fell ill in April 1919. His symptoms were so severe and appeared so suddenly that his personal physician, Cary Grayson, thought he had been poisoned. A hundred years later, in a tweet on September 2, Trump told the world that he and first lady Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19. As few details emerged, the White House said he was taken to Walter Reed Military Hospital “out of an abundance of caution”. It was startling: Trump had been declaring almost daily that the nation had turned the...

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