Presidential Medical Secrets

The scandal is almost as old as the United States itself: The president has a health problem that he and his aides try to shroud from the public.Only later — years later, in some cases — does the severity become clear.The list of cover-ups is remarkably long.

After a mysterious illness caused James Madison to miss meetings with senators in 1813, he blamed a watch malfunction.During Chester Arthur’s only term as president, he hid a kidney ailment that likely contributed to his death a year after he left office.

Grover Cleveland’s aides lied about a surgery in 1893 — performed on a friend’s yacht — to excise a tumor in his mouth.Woodrow Wilson spent his last year and a half as president debilitated by strokes while his wife and doctor secretly carried out some presidential duties.Franklin D.

Roosevelt concealed the ailments that led to his death months after he won the 1944 election.Dwight Eisenhower’s doctor initially described his heart attack in 1955 as “a digestive upset.” John F.

Kennedy’s aides lied about his Addison’s disease.Ronald Reagan’s administration hid the extent of his injuries after he was shot in 1981 and the signs of his dementia in later years.

Donald Trump misled the public about the severity of his Covid illness.President Biden and his aides have become part of this presidential tradition.They have minimized and managed his public appearances to hide his age-related decline, according to reporting by The Times and other news organizations.

Even as he has become confused or lost the thread of conversations more often in recent months, he and his aides have insisted he remained sharp and vigorous.The truth seems quite different.The actor George Clooney wrote in a Times Opinion essay yesterday that he noticed Biden’s struggles at a fund-raiser Clooney co-hosted three weeks ago.

“He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020,” Clooney wrote.“He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”Pelosi’s coded mess...

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Publisher: The New York Times

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