During the time Donald Trump was campaigning for President,
wrote two letters describing the candidate's health.
Drama has surrounded the first letter, which hardly qualifies
as a medical document. Dr. Bornstein ultimately disclosed that
Trump has written that letter himself. (Details below.)
* * *
This tweet from December 3, 2015
started it off:
The next day Dr. Bornstein wrote his first letter. Ten days after that,
the letter was released publicly
, heralded by a boastful cover note from
the candidate that gets the name of his physician wrong:
This first letter of Dr. Bornstein's
was hardly the "full report"
that candidate Trump promised in his tweet:
The release of this letter created a sensation, not so much for its lack of detail
as for its laughably hyperbolic non-professional language and tone:
- "only positive results"
- Actually, this is bad: when a person "tests positive"
for a disease, it means they have the disease. So "only positive results"
means everything was abnormal!
- "laboratory results were astonishingly excellent"
- "physical strength and stamina are extraordinary"
- "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual
ever elected to the presidency."
- Perfectly described as a
"quackish assertion" by the Washington Post
unfortunately made Dr. Bornstein a national laughing stock (aided no doubt by his
Nine months later NBC News interviewed
him about the letter and reported that
Bornstein said that after he was asked to write the letter, he thought about what he would say all day but did not type it out until the last minute as a black car sent by Trump waited to collect it. He said he didn't even proofread it.
The NBC report was headlined: "Wrote Health Letter in Just 5 Minutes as Limo Waited."
When asked about the bombastic language Dr. Bornstein said:
"I think I picked up his kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own."
When asked specifically about the "healthiest individual" claim, Bornstein replied,
"I like that sentence to be quite honest with you and all the rest of them are either sick or dead."
Thus, at this point in time (August 2016), Dr. Bornstein is still covering for Donald Trump.
* * *
A month after the NBC interview and two months before election day 2016, Bornstein released a second letter
, more professional in language and tone.
(With it, he also released a letter appointing him to the active staff at Lenox Hill
At the time his first letter was released,
he had been accused of inflating his connection
to Lenox Hill.)
Here is Dr. Bornstein's second letter:
* * *
Sadly for him, the Dr. Bornstein saga did not end when Trump moved to Washington as President.
Speaking too freely to the New York Times
in February 2017
, Dr. Bornstein remarked that
Trump used two previously undisclosed medications: the hair-growth agent Propecia (finasteride),
and a tetracycline antibiotic for the skin condition rosacea.
According to Dr. Bornstein, this rapidly precipitated two events:
- Two days after the Times interview,
three men representing Trump -- his longtime body-guard, the Trump Organization's
chief legal officer, and another "large man" --
"raided" Bornstein's office and
seized all of Trump's medical records that Dr. Bornstein had on file
The White House physician had earlier sent Bornstein a letter
requesting the records, but the men who seized the records did not have a signed
HIPAA release form to give Bornstein
A White House statement claimed this was "standard operating procedure"
- Dr. Bornstein had earlier contacted a member of the White House to suggest that
he become the president's physician in Washington. Two days after the disclosure, Bornstein
said he received a gruff phone call from Trump's longtime personal assistant Rhona Graff,
who said "So you wanted to be the White House doctor? Forget it,
Over the next year, he found that he had been completely removed from the President's
orbit, his patient of 36 years
* * *
With his hopes for being Presidential physician dashed in early 2017, Bornstein
contradicted many of his earlier statements and admitted in May 2018
that Trump himself wrote the fatuous first letter released under
Dr. Bornstein's name in 2015: "He dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter."
The White House did not respond to questions about Bornstein's claim.