Cameras rolling, Manhattan gastroenterologist Harold Bornstein was confronted last week with a letter that carried his signature. In that letter, the writer “state[d] unequivocally” that Donald Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Donald Trump would be the oldest individual ever elected to the presidency. He sleeps little and holds angry grudges. He purports to eat KFC and girthy slabs of red meat, and his physique doesn’t suggest any inconsistency in this. His health might be fine, but a claim to anything superlative feels off.
Bornstein might have jumped on that opportunity to get out of this mess—to say that Trump had dictated the letter, and Bornstein only signed it. Or that Trump had at least suggested phrases. Because it’s not just the facts of Trump’s life that don’t add up, but the linguistics of the letter.
To readers with a keen eye, the hand of Trump might seem evident, particularly the descriptors: “his strength and physical stamina are extraordinary” and his “laboratory test results are astonishingly excellent.” There is even an instance of the Trumpian habit of beginning a sentence with “actually,” for purposes of building on (as opposed to contradicting) the prior sentence: “Mr. Trump has had a complete medical examination that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure and lab results were astonishingly excellent.”
But Bornstein only stuck to his guns. Not only did he double down on the letter, he said he rather liked the line about Trump being the healthiest person ever elected president. So I’d like to go through this letter a little more closely.