WASHINGTON — President Trump will keep, for the time being, the same White House doctor who had cared for former President Barack Obama since 2013.
Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the US Navy, will continue to serve as physician to the president, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told STAT. Jackson was appointed as the lead White House doctor by Obama in July 2013. He had previously served in the White House Medical Unit under Obama and George W. Bush.
Jackson, who has a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch, was deployed in the Iraq War during the Bush administration. He has received several commendations for his military service.
Trump — the oldest incoming president in history — had prior to his election been treated for decades by Dr. Harold Bornstein of New York. Bornstein, who became a minor celebrity after he wrote a short letter declaring that Trump would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency, has an office on the Upper East Side. He told STAT in December that he had not been asked to move to Washington.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Bornstein reaffirmed he would not move to Washington to care for the president. “That was always true,” he said, adding that he thought it was more appropriate for Trump, as commander in chief, to have a military doctor.
“That sounds perfect to me,” he said.
Trump takes medication to manage his cholesterol and a low dose of aspirin, Bornstein reported in a second letter released in September. The president, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 236 pounds, does not use alcohol or tobacco. Bornstein said Trump has no family history of premature cardiac disease or cancer. Various lab tests over the last few years came back normal, as were Trump’s blood sugar and blood pressure levels, according to Bornstein.
Presidents can select whomever they want as a personal physician; many, but not all, have been military doctors like Jackson. Presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan chose non-uniformed physicians.
The president’s physician follows him around domestically and overseas, always at hand in case medical expertise is needed. Often, this doctor is also the director of the White House Medical Unit, a mini urgent care center based inside the White House, which cares for tourists (or journalists) who fall ill in the premises.
Ike Swetlitz contributed reporting.