White House doctor says Trump scored perfect marks on cognitive test, needs to lose weight
President Trump registered a perfect score on a cognitive screening test as part of his physical examination taken last week, the White House physician said Tuesday, adding that Trump requested the test to rebut accusations that his mental faculties are declining.
“There’s no indication whatsoever that he has any cognitive issues,” Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the chief White House doctor, whose tenure treating presidents began with George W. Bush, told reporters during a lengthy White House briefing. “He’s very sharp. He’s very articulate when he speaks to me.”
“Absolutely, he’s fit for duty,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said Trump should try to lose 10-15 pounds — he’s at the borderline of obesity — and added that he’s trying to encourage the president to start an exercise routine, perhaps with some help from First Lady Melania Trump.
The doctor, who based his view of the president’s mental condition on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and daily conversations with Trump, called speculation from outside mental health professionals “tabloid psychiatry.”
He said the brief test is not normally administered to presidents, but that Trump, 71, wanted to clear up public questions about his cognitive abilities.
The score of 30 out of 30 on the Montreal test answers one of the most dramatic claims from the president’s critics, that he is suffering from dementia or some other form of cognitive impairment.
The test does not measure other qualities that play a role in a president’s work, such as the ability to assimilate and analyze new information, overall emotional stability or the ability to make informed decisions.
Trump earlier this month tweeted that he’s a “very stable genius,” elevating the public conversation about his mental state.
Jackson, who occupies an office near Trump’s and speaks with the president frequently, characterized Trump’s overall health as excellent, despite his well-known attraction to fast food and aversion to exercise. He said he conducted Trump’s annual screening for about four hours at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with the help of 12 consultants.
Trump, who stands 6-feet-3 and weighs 239 pounds, according to Jackson, is one pound shy of being classified as obese but has been blessed with good genes that have kept him largely free of major health concerns.
The president’s daily medications include aspirin and Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering medication for his heart as well as Propecia to mitigate hair loss. Jackson said he was increasing Trump’s dosage of the cholesterol medication to “further decrease his cardiac risk.”
He also takes a daily multivitamin and a cream as needed to combat rosacea, a common skin condition.
Jackson said a recent incident when Trump appeared to slur his words may have been the result of Sudafed, which Jackson had prescribed a few days earlier and can lead to a dry mouth.
The president’s doctor said Trump appears to depend on only four or five hours of sleep a night, though he added later that Trump and most adults would benefit from more sleep.
“He has a lot of energy, a lot of energy and a lot of stamina,” Jackson said.
Jackson would not comment on a claim made during the election by Trump’s personal physician, boasting that Trump would “be the healthiest individual ever elected president.”
Get our Essential Politics newsletter
The latest news, analysis and insights from our politics team.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.