What Trump and Fox News said about medical records transparency in 2016

What Trump and Fox News 1

Four years ago, then-candidate Donald Trump demanded transparency from his opponent about her medical records. Trump vowed to release “detailed medical records” of his own if Hillary Clinton did so as well. “I have no problem in doing so!” he exclaimed on Twitter. He drilled down this message on the campaign trail and in interviews. Clinton was hiding something, the argument went, and he was willing to be transparent.

Trump’s friends on Fox News went into overdrive hammering home this message. Sean Hannity carried out a Clinton medical “investigation” on his prime-time show, hyping conspiratorial posts about her health. The cast of “Fox & Friends” featured chyrons such as, “HIDE & ‘SICK’: MEDIA KEPT IN DARK ON CLINTON HEALTH.” Another echoed that sentiment: “HIDING HILLARY’S HEALTH? TOOK HOURS TO REVEAL PNEUMONIA DIAGNOSIS.” On and on it went.

Fast forward four years and the shoe is on the other foot. This time, just before the presidential election, legitimate questions about Trump’s health are front and center. The commander-in-chief has a deadly virus with no known cure and is fresh off a days-long hospital stay at Walter Reed. He’s clinically obese and 74 years old, putting him at greater risk than the average member of the general public. And his own doctor said as recently as Monday that he’s not “out of the woods.”

And yet, we know very little about Trump’s current medical condition. Never mind a “detailed medical record.” The White House and Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, won’t answer basic questions. The White House refuses to tell the public when Trump last tested negative and has been anything but transparent on the timeline of the West Wing outbreak. And Conley has repeatedly dodged rudimentary questions about the President’s health.
On Tuesday, Conley didn’t even bother to take questions on the President’s current condition. Instead he released a short letter with a 57-word description of Trump’s health. Trump “reports no symptoms,” Conley said. (Note there is a big difference between saying one “reports no symptoms” and has no symptoms.) And Trump’s “vital signs and physical exam remain stable,” Conley added.

Appearing on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out that “there is a lot of data” still unknown. “Just basic vital signs would be good to know,” Gupta said. “Any fever today? What is his heart rate? Any signs of other dysfunction of any organs? Does he have pneumonia? This is a respiratory virus and they still haven’t answered that question.”
Of course, despite the lingering questions, Hannity did not bring back his “medical A-team” to conduct an on-air “investigation” into Trump’s health. No, Hannity on Tuesday night expressed little interest in the lack of answers coming out of the White House about Trump’s health, simply telling his viewers that it appeared Trump was on the road to a speedy recover. Then he mocked those who had supposedly fallen prey to the “media mob” and believed something “conspiratorial” was at play.

Hannity and the other propagandists on Fox News can mock the news media for questioning the President’s health — something they’d gleefully support if the candidate had a “D” next to his or her name — but the public is entitled to at least know the very basic details about the President’s health. Does he have pneumonia? What did the scans taken at Walter Reed show? Has he shown any symptoms of coronavirus since returning to the White House?
57-word descriptions from the President’s intransparent physician will not cut it. Failing to offer the public a briefing on the President’s health each day he is infected with a dangerous virus is unacceptable and it should be called out by the new media…

McEnany’s latest knock on reporters

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night, WH press sec Kayleigh McEnany was asked about briefing reporters without a mask on Sunday, after she knew that she had been a close contact of Hope Hicks. Instead of taking responsibility for her actions, McEnany figured out a way to turn it around on the press. The reporters, she said, “knew I was a close contact” when they were asking questions, and still continued to do so. Of course they did, Kayleigh! You’re the White House press sec and the President is infected with a deadly virus. But it’s incumbent on you to brief the press responsibly…

When will we see Trump next?

The President hasn’t been seen on-camera by the public in more than 24 hours. Jeff Zeleny reported Tuesday night that Trump did tape a video earlier in the evening. In the video, Trump offered a sales pitch for coronavirus medical treatments he said would soon be available. According to Zeleny, the video was thought to be for tonight, but for some reason it was not released. Now it’s unclear when it will be posted…
>> While Trump hasn’t been seen on camera, he’s certainly making his voice heard on Twitter, though his message is certainly muddled (more on that below)…

Getting closer to the truth…

About Trump’s Covid-19 testing: The president “was not tested every day, according to two people familiar with the practices,” the NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni write in Wednesday’s paper. “A senior administration official would only say on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was tested ‘regularly.'”

When questioned about this unanswered Q on “Erin Burnett OutFront,” WH deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern said he couldn’t say if Trump definitely tested negative before the debate last week. “I don’t have that,” he said. When Burnett asked if he knew the date of Trump’s last negative test, the spokesman said, “I personally do not.” The spokesman should know…

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