Board Certified Neurologist: Trump’s Gait Evidences “Degenerative Brain Problem”

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His "physical condition has been a subject for speculation since he announced his quest for the [2016] GOP nomination."

According to Andrew Feinberg of the Independent, health experts, including Dr. James Merikangas, have been speculating about President Trump’s overall physical and mental condition.

  • Most recently, a video of Trump descending down a metal ramp at the US Military Academy’s commencement ceremony has been trending on Twitter with the hashtag #TrumpIsNotWell. Feinberg wrote that Trump took “small, hesitant, unsteady-seeming steps as he walked down a ramp.” And in “Trump’s rendering of events, the halting, tentative gait captured on video was a reaction to a ramp that was ‘very long [and] steep.’”

  • As the video circulated, the “health of the oldest first-term president in American history continues to be an unresolved issue as he runs for reelection,” the report continued.
  • The concerns and speculations over Trump’s health have “been fed by a series of hyperbolic, often nonsensical pronouncements by his own doctors,” wrote Feinberg.

“While most presidential candidates release medical records or detailed statements from physicians, Trump’s only concession to this tradition was a one-page statement from his then-physician, New York-based gastroenterologist Dr. Harold Bornstein, who later admitted that his note was dictated by Trump himself,” Feinberg reported.

  • In the note, he “state[d] unequivocally” that Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” and claimed Trump’s “medical examination showed only positive results.”

The June 13 video of Trump unsteadily walking down a ramp is just the latest in a number of incidents that have raised questions about his overall wellbeing.

  • Feinberg reported that on “multiple occasions [Trump] has slurred his words, appeared sedated, or both, in addition to his frequent loud sniffing during public appearances, and occasions in which he has appeared to forget words or confuse one word for a similar-sounding one.”
  • Dr. James Merikangas, a board-certified neurologist and clinical professor of neuropsychiatry at George Washington University School of Medicine, said he immediately noticed problems with Trump’s movements.

“My reaction to that was that he's got a problem with his balance and with his posture,” said Merikangas, who added that he has long noticed issues with how Trump carries himself during public appearances. His “problem with balance with his gait is also something that happens with people who have some sort of degenerative brain problem usually in the frontal lobes of the brain… it certainly is suspicious, the way he was walking.”

  • Merikangas was unable to offer a specific diagnosis, but said that if Trump were a friend, family member or colleague, he would advise the president to see a doctor and get an MRI or PET scan.

The physicians who have been responsible for Trump’s care since he assumed presidency have raised more harm than good to the president’s cause, Feinberg wrote.

  • Many Trump White House veterans regard a January 2018 marathon briefing on the results of Trump’s annual physical by then-Physician to the President Dr. Ronny Jackson as an “unmitigated disaster.” Jackson was a well-regarded doctor who had also treated former President Barack Obama and his family.
  • Jackson said during that briefing that Trump had “a very strong and a very probable possibility of making it completely through his presidency with no serious medical issues” on account of his “incredible genes,” despite at least one test result that, according to other outside experts, showed Trump to have heart disease.
  • Jackson’s successor, Dr. Sean Conley, has “gotten into hot water over the president’s alleged use of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against Covid-19 infection” (despite no evidence that the drug was effective as a preventative or treatment), Feinberg continued.
  • Merikangas, who is a former naval officer himself, noted that Conley’s lower rank makes him “more vulnerable to pressure from his patient,” who could, “in theory, order Conley to lie about his health.”

“They clearly look for somebody who is going to be compliant...The obvious centerpiece of what they want is somebody who’s going to be on their team and not going to make waves or cause trouble,” said Rick Wilson, the ex-GOP consultant who is one of the former Republicans behind The Lincoln Project anti-Trump Super PAC.

  • But Feinberg reported that University of Virginia Center for Politics director Larry Sabato suggested that “it does not matter whether Conley or others continue to lie because no one will believe anyone associated with Trump anyway.”

“The credibility gap existing with Donald Trump is as large as the one Lyndon Johnson suffered on Vietnam, which is saying something. After a while you just don't believe anything he says,” said Sabato, who added that one has a better chance of grasping the truth by rejecting everything Trump or his advisers say because so much of it is inaccurate.

Feinberg concluded that regardless of whether voters believe Trump or not, Wilson predicted there would “eventually be a full accounting of the 45th president’s health issues.”

Read the full report here.

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