President Trump is fine, but it was the media that appeared to be in bad shape at a sickening spectacle Tuesday, where the White House physician gave the commander-in-chief a clean bill of health.
The disbelieving media scoffed at the official report, mocking the doctor's findings, offering its own diagnoses and ultimately questioning the credentials of a U.S. Navy rear admiral.
“Ronny Jackson” quickly became a top trend on social media as critics rushed to make jokes and snide remarks about the doctor. “Maybe Dr. Ronny Jackson is the same guy who measured Trump’s inaugural size,” HuffPost contributor Bryan Behar snickered.
White House physician Ronny Jackson declared that Trump was in "excellent health," with the exception of being a tad overweight, needing more exercise and taking medication for high cholesterol – things that the president has in common with millions of Americans.
Many White House correspondents appeared to be in disbelief that Trump was given a clean bill of health and spent nearly an hour peppering Jackson with questions as they fished for maladies.
Immediately following the positive report, ABC’s Cecilia Vega asked, “Are you ruling out things like early onset Alzheimer's? Are you looking at dementia-like symptoms?"
Dr. Marc Siegel wrote an op-ed in USA Today noting that while some of “Trump’s tweets and off the cuff comments may seem disinhibited, exhibiting a lack of good social judgment and calling on a need for restraint,” but “linking this pattern of behavior to a possible larger neuropsychological issue is pure speculation and a dangerous leap to take.”
Sadly, the majority of the press didn’t get Siegel’s message.
A new genre of fake news was created as a result of Trump’s positive physical, as pundits turned into weight truthers, or as MSNBC star Chris Hayes put it, “girthers.”
The White house doctor reported that Trump stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 239 pounds, which magically turned critics into carnival-style weight guessers. “Morning Joe” namesake Joe Scarborough was among the most prominent media members who could moonlight as a weight guesser at his local county fair.
“I know somebody who is 6’3″ and weighs close to 239 pounds. And all I can tell you is this -- if that’s what 239 pounds looked like -- I would weigh 170 pounds. So, yes, I have great respect for people who have great respect for this doctor. But if that’s what 6’3″, 239 pounds looks like -- that’s a shock to me,” Scarborough said on Wednesday morning.
New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the MSNBC morning show and helped pile on, telling Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski that Trump’s actions “don’t suggest” he is sane.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said the White House doctor “seemed like a Trump fanboy,” during a CNN panel in which host Don Lemon literally laughed at the president’s reported weight.
An NBC News reporter even challenged Trump to “step on a scale in public” to prove his weight, while New York Times star Maggie Haberman suggested that Trump’s height may not coincide with “earlier physicals” because an extra inch would make a difference on “his BMI from overweight to obese.”
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News the doctor who was appointed to be the president’s personal physician by President Barack Obama is ”suddenly suspect” because the left and mainstream media “doesn’t like” what he said, pointing specifically to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta – who was on hand for Tuesday’s press briefing and now claims Trump has heart disease.
“It’s like a sitcom. Dr. Jackson is then challenged by TV Dr. Sanjay Gupta who hasn’t examined Trump,” Gainor said. “What will the media do next? Interview the cast of ‘ER’ or perhaps dig up Dr. House and ask their opinions on the president’s height and weight?”
Reporters spent months diagnosing the president as mentally unfit for office, unstable and Trump was even speculated to have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Now that the armchair doctors and psychologists have been proven wrong, many old school journalists would expect an apology, retraction or even correction but it doesn’t appear that will happen anytime soon.
An assortment of publications mocked the doctor’s findings and a Twitter account claiming to be a “rogue” senior White House adviser tweeted false information that Jackson fudged the numbers and Trump actually weighs 339 pounds. The untruthful message has been retweeted over 4,400 times and favorited by nearly 10,000 people.
Many conservative and down-the-middle media members have mocked the press’ obsession with Trump’s health, as it appears the good news disappointed some of the president’s critics. The Federalist even published a story headlined, “10 of the dumbest questions reporters asked during Trump’s health press conference,” that details the embarrassing line of questions that makes it hard for traditional journalists to defend their anti-Trump peers.
Jackson called speculation about the president’s health “tabloid psychiatry,” which is apparently doctor talk for “fake news.”
“I thought the news media couldn’t get any more stupid,” Gainor said. “Boy was I wrong.”