While Questioning Trump’s ‘Mental Fitness,’ CBS Suggests Reagan Had Alzheimer’s ‘In Office’

During a report questioning President Trump’s “mental fitness” on Friday’s CBS This Morning, Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook also smeared Ronald Reagan by promoting a disproved conspiracy theory about the 40th president’s health: “And there are questions about whether Ronald Reagan had symptoms of Alzheimer’s while in office.”

“When he stepped into office last year, President Trump was the oldest person ever to become commander-in-chief. Now at 71 years of age, he’s defending his fitness for office,” LaPook proclaimed as he began the segment about Trump’s first medical exam as president. He turned to presidential historian and Brown University Professor Rose McDermott, who fretted: “There’s no constitutional obligation or no legal law that requires it....A lot of presidents have been really sick men. And a lot of that information has been hidden from the public.”

 

 

LaPook then listed presidential health problems, including the discredited notion that Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease “while in office”:

Woodrow Wilson had a stroke that not even his closest advisers knew about. Franklin Roosevelt, a polio patient, hid the extent of his illness from the public. John F. Kennedy took drugs for back problems and an autoimmune disorder. And there are questions about whether Ronald Reagan had symptoms of Alzheimer’s while in office.

The claim about Reagan has been repeatedly dispelled by experts of his presidency. George Will denounced the notion as “slander” in a 2015 Washington Post column. Reagan biographer Craig Shirley called it “total B.S.”

LaPook touted how “Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, has sparked a debate over President Trump’s mental fitness, prompting the President to defend himself as ‘a very stable genius.’” Trying to bolster that debate, he hyped: “When he [Trump] seemed to slur his speech during an address last month...the White House brushed it off, saying, ‘The President’s throat was dry. Nothing more than that.’”

LaPook wrapped up the story by explaining: “The White House said a psychiatric evaluation will not be part of the exam...” Co-host Gayle King was disappointed: “I was wondering if there was cognitive testing, but you seemed to indicate no, there will be none of that.” She eagerly awaited the results of the exam: “It’ll be interesting to see what’s revealed.”

In stark contrast, after Hillary Clinton had a health scare in the midst of the 2016 campaign, King dismissed it as “no big deal” and asked: “Are we supposed to know everything that’s going on in a candidate’s life when it comes to health?”

The biased segment was brought to viewers by Nissan, Havertys Furniture, and TGI Fridays.

Here is a portion of the January 12 report:

(...)

8:33 AM ET

DR. WILLIAM LANG [INOVA INTERNATIONAL MEDICINE]: There’s going to be a complete head-to-toe physical exam.

LAPOOK: Dr. William Lang is a former director of the White House medical unit. Is there any rule or precedent about informing the public, how much the public has a right to know?

LANG: Clearly, there is no legal requirement for any disclosure. And from a medical ethical standpoint, there is no requirement for any disclosure unless there is the very remote case that the physician thought that there was a danger to himself or others.

LAPOOK: The release of medical information by presidents is a tradition that began in the 1970s.

ROSE MCDERMOTT [BROWN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR]: It’s actually not mandated. There’s no constitutional obligation or no legal law that requires it.

LAPOOK: Rose McDermott is a presidential historian who has studied presidential illnesses.

MCDERMOTT: A lot of presidents have been really sick men. And a lot of that information has been hidden from the public.

LAPOOK: Woodrow Wilson had a stroke that not even his closest advisers knew about. Franklin Roosevelt, a polio patient, hid the extent of his illness from the public. John F. Kennedy took drugs for back problems and an autoimmune disorder. And there are questions about whether Ronald Reagan had symptoms of Alzheimer’s while in office.

MICHAEL WOLFF: The people in the White House are like everybody else in the country. What’s gonna happen here? We don’t know from day-to-day.

LAPOOK: Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, has sparked a debate over President Trump’s mental fitness, prompting the President to defend himself as “a very stable genius.” When he seemed to slur his speech during an address last month –  

TRUMP: And God bless the United States.

LAPOOK: The White House brushed it off, saying, “The President’s throat was dry. Nothing more than that.”

(...)


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