WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump arrived for his first medical checkup as president at Walter Reed military hospital on Friday, undergoing a physical examination amid suggestions in a recent book and by his detractors that he's mentally unfit.
Trump's motorcade pulled into the medical facility in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, early Friday afternoon. But what has been a fairly routine exam for previous presidents has taken on outsized importance in the age of Trump, given the tone of some of his tweets, comments attributed to some of his close advisers and Trump's recent slurring of words on national TV.
Some of the comments were published in a new book about Trump's first year, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denounced as "complete fantasy" for portraying her 71-year-old boss as undisciplined and in over his head as president.
Trump himself has pushed back hard against any suggestion that he's mentally unfit, declaring himself "a very stable genius."
The examination was expected to last several hours and will measure things like Trump's blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, heart rate and weight.
The White House said Trump's physician, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, was expected to release a brief statement on Friday after the exam and then provide a detailed readout of the exam on Tuesday and answer questions from reporters.
But conclusions about Trump's mental acuity aren't expected. The White House said Trump will not undergo a psychiatric exam. Officials did not address a different type of screening: assessments of cognitive status that examine neurological functions including memory. Cognitive assessments aren't routine in standard physicals, though they recently became covered in Medicare's annual wellness visits for seniors.
While the exams are not mandatory, modern presidents typically undergo them regularly and release a doctor's report declaring they are "fit for duty."
Two months before the November 2016 election, Trump released a five-paragraph letter from his longtime physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, who concluded that Trump "is in excellent physical health." A year earlier, Bornstein said in a December 2015 letter: "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
The 2016 letter put Trump's blood pressure and cholesterol measurements in the healthy range, though he uses a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. His EKG, chest X-ray, echocardiogram and blood sugar were normal.
The 6-foot-3 Trump weighed 236 pounds (107 kilograms), and his body mass index, or BMI, of 29.5 put him in the category of being overweight for his height.
Trump takes Crestor for his cholesterol, a low-dose aspirin for heart attack prevention, Propecia to treat male-pattern baldness and antibiotics for rosacea. The doctor's 2016 letter stated that Trump's testosterone level, 441.6, was in the normal range, as were his PSA reading for prostate abnormalities and tests of his liver and thyroid.
Trump was 70 when he took office on Jan. 20, 2017, making him the oldest person ever elected to the nation's highest office.