Bornstein, now ‘frightened and sad’, says Trump wrote letter saying he would be ‘healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency’
Washington: A 2015 doctor’s note describing Donald Trump’s health as “astonishingly excellent” was dictated, it turns out, by Trump himself, according to the doctor who signed the note.
Dr Harold Bornstein, described in the letter as Trump’s physician “since 1980”, told CNN on Tuesday that he did not write the letter, which Trump publicised on the eve of the presidential primary contests to allay concerns about his fitness.
“He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN. “I just made it up as I went along.”
The story is a reversal by Bornstein, who claimed in August 2016 that he had dashed off the letter “in five minutes … while the driver waited for me”.
The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Trump made public the 2015 letter from Bornstein in response to media pressure for him to produce medical records. Two days before the letter was released, Trump tweeted: “As a presidential candidate, I have instructed my long-time doctor to issue, within two weeks, a full medical report — it will show perfection.”
Then, Bornstein now claims, Trump dictated the letter to Bornstein, who signed it.
The letter said Trump had shed seven kilos in the previous 12 months, said “his cardiovascular status is excellent” and concluded: “If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Earlier Tuesday, Bornstein said the longtime Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller and two other men had conducted a “raid” on his offices for Trump’s medical records in February 2017, two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had for years prescribed Propecia, a hair growth medicine, for Trump.
Bornstein now ‘frightened and sad’
According to Bornstein, Trump’s men spent 25 to 30 minutes hoovering up the original copies of Trump’s medical records — retaliation, he intimated this week, for speaking to the press. “It created a lot of chaos,” Bornstein told the network.
“I feel raped — that’s how I feel,” the doctor dramatically said. “Raped, frightened, and sad. I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly is not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”
Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, defended the move. Asked about Bornstein’s characterisation of it as a “raid”, she replied: “No, that is not my understanding.”
Sanders added: “It would be standard procedure for a newly elected president’s records to be in possession by the White House medical unit. And that was what was taking place, is those records were being transferred over to the White House medical unit as requested.”
Bornstein said he was speaking out now after seeing reports that Ronny Jackson, allegedly known as “the candy man” for loosely prescribing pain medications as White House doctor, will not return to his post as Trump’s personal physician after his nomination to run veterans affairs became mired in scandal and collapsed.
Bornstein, who served as Trump’s physician for more than three decades, is the latest longtime Trump figure to publicly split from the president.
For Bornstein, ministering to Trump’s health has been a family business.
Bornstein’s father, Jacob Bornstein, served as Trump’s personal physician until 1980. The elder Bornstein’s life was “a tribute to the uniquely American concept of ‘anything is possible’ if you are born here,” according to his 2010 obituary. The son of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Jacob graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University and later earned a degree at Harvard Medical School. He served in the US Army during the Second World War before setting up a private practice in New York City.
Bornstein followed his father into medicine, attending Tufts University School of Medicine after Tufts University in Boston.
Throughout his career, Bornstein has been hit with three malpractice lawsuits, according to the Daily Beast. Two of the cases involved allegations of overmedicating that led to a patient’s death, the website reported.
“He prescribed for her medication disproportionate for her physical weight and she ended up falling and dying,” one family members of a Bornstein patient told the Daily Beast. “I’m not saying it is because of him, but he contributed to her death.”
Each complaint was settled before a trial, and Bornstein admitted no liability.
Last February, Bornstein told the New York Times he treated Trump each year with annual check-ups and colonoscopies. Trump’s first and third wives were also the doctor’s patients, and he treated Trump’s second wife occasionally.
“I am probably the only person in the world who has every phone number for him and all the wives,” Bornstein told the Times.
Bornstein, who once had told Trump’s personal secretary Rhona Graff he hoped to be the White House physician, said this week that his comments to the Times in February squashed that possibility.
“So you wanted to be the White House doctor? Forget it, you’re out,” Graff told Bornstein after the records were taken from his office, the doctor told NBC News.
An 8-by-10 picture of Bornstein grinning with his famous client once hung prominently on the doctor’s wall. According to NBC News, the photo is now lying unseen on a bookshelf. Bornstein claims Trump’s men told him to remove the photo of happier times.