Throughout American history, an uncomfortable truth has emerged: Presidents have lied about their health.
In some cases, the issues were minor, in other cases quite grave. And sometimes it took decades for the public to learn the truth.
Now President Donald Trump has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease. The White House initially said he had “mild symptoms.” By Friday evening, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The White House issued a vaguely worded statement at first, although Trump’s doctors answered some questions from reporters on Saturday.
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 each had to decide how much to tell the public.
Like many administrations before him, the White House tried to keep Wilson’s sickness a secret.
Wilson was at talks in