Over the past century, White House physicians have repeatedly deceived the public about the health of the President. In April 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt struggled with congestive heart failure, yet his physician, Admiral Ross McIntire, told the press the President simply had the flu. President Kennedy’s medical team obscured the presence of his Addison’s disease.
The current administration has doggedly refused to disclose the reasons for President Trump’s urgent trip to Walter Reed in November 2019, and over the last two weeks, Dr. Conley has repeatedly omitted or misrepresented key data concerning the medical status of the President.
Fortunately, the 25th Amendment provides for a potential alternative for the objective assessment of the fitness of the President, permitting “such other body as Congress may by law provide.” This week, in response to the President’s emergency hospitalization and his subsequent chaotic behavior, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a bill to create a Commission on Presidential Capacity to determine the ability of a President to fulfill the duties of the office.
Airline pilots are required to undergo periodic evaluations by certified examiners. So are school bus drivers and Secret Service agents and many other individuals whose job performance is critical to public safety.
The President of the United States commands the most powerful military in the history of the world and has the singular capacity to launch a nuclear strike. Shouldn’t the American people have confidence that their President is well, and if he or she is not, shouldn’t there be a reliable way to assess presidential fitness and have a secure path to succession?
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