Two years ago, give or take, the US election seemed to hang on the health of the candidates. A video surfaced of Hillary Clinton, seeming to wobble and almost faint as she got into a car. Your head said: this is trivial thing, if it were serious she would have bowed out, it’s probably one of those diseases like labyrinthitis or flu that you don’t believe exists until you get it yourself. Your gut said: this is very bad, voting is primal; no one lines up behind anyone who looks as though they’re about to fall over.
Trump, meanwhile, was in rude health, which was plain from his overall rudeness, and also, a letter from his physician, Dr Harold Bornstein. It was like a note you forge from your mum, in reverse: Donald Trump can go swimming, because he is in the best health ever, his level of wellbeing is unlike any you may have encountered in a swim-eligible child. It turns out there was a reason. “He dictated the whole thing,” Borstein told CNN on Tuesday. “I just made it up as I went along,” he unclarified, but I think we can call this an idiomatic US/UK difference: over there, the phrase clearly means: “I wrote down what that other person was saying.”
Dig into the text, and this much is obvious: his physical strength and stamina were “extraordinary”. “If elected,” Bornstein made up as he went along, “Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Healthier than Obama, who could shoot hoops while smoking; healthier than Kennedy, who could fry eggs just by looking at them with his vigorous eyes. “The healthiest ever” may have been the red flag, but the dead giveaway was the “astonishingly excellent”. There can never have been any real doubt that, as Bornstein now admits, “Trump dictated the letter and I’d tell him what he couldn’t put in there.” Ah history, you tantalising discipline. I would give all the ancient pots of Mesopotamia to know what Trump said that couldn’t go in. “He is so healthy that all my medical mind struggles to believe he is human, and not of the gods.” It’s given us all a laugh, except the doctor; he may just be struck off for making false statements. Wherever he ends up, it will be somewhere below “qualified and respected physician with a license to practise”.
In what should – given his astonishing good health – become his band name when he remakes himself as a global rock star, Ye Shall Know Trump By His Trail of Indictments. In the investigation into Russian links, Robert Mueller has already secured a series of guilty pleas: Michael Flynn (former national security adviser), George Papadopoulos (former campaign adviser),