CNN Fat-Shames Trump, Speculates About His Health

Anchor Jake Tapper and network's resident doctor, Sanjay Gupta, comment about the president's lifestyle

CNN anchor Jake Tapper and the network’s resident physician, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, engaged in rank speculation Friday about President Donald Trump’s health in advance of his physical.

A doctor later pronounced Trump in “excellent health.” Prior to that, though, Tapper noted Trump’s “affinity for McDonald’s cheeseburgers and his disdain for exercise” — and asked Gupta about the president’s health based on his appearance.

“I don’t want to be rude about it, but the president doesn’t look healthy and what we know of his diet and exercise habits, he doesn’t lead a predictably healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Gupta called Trump “borderline obese” in the past and pointed out that he had a stressful first year in office. He also disapproved of Trump’s diet — “a couple of fish sandwiches, chocolate shakes, steak with ketchup, 12 Diet Cokes a day.”

It was reminiscent of CNN’s hour-after-hour coverage last month over the revelation of Trump’s Diet Coke habit — on the same day a bomb exploded in New York, no less.

Tapper also asked about Trump’s mental health, an increasingly popular parlor discussion in the media in recent weeks.

“His mental health, in particular, should be tested for this reason, alone: He’s over the age of 65,” Gupta said.

But, Gupta lamented, Trump’s mental health likely would not be part of the exam.

“And if he did, we likely wouldn’t hear about it, anyway,” he said. “There’s no requirement that we do.”

Rich Noyes, director of research at the Media Research Center, said it is unusual for a news network to engage in such open speculation absent a health crisis or diagnosis.

“Usually, what happens is the president has some sort of health episode while in office and then the TV doctors come out,” he told LifeZette.

Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a doctor from Tennessee, faced ridicule in 2005 when he commented on Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman in a coma whose husband was fighting a legal battle with her parents over whether to remove her feeding tube. Critics contended it was unethical for Frist to offer a medical opinion about Schiavo without having examined her.

Such concerns did not stop Gupta.

Or “Dr. Tapper.”

Related: Bomb Goes Off in NYC, but CNN Obsesses Over Trump’s Diet Coke Habits

“The standards for speculation are much lower in the age of Trump … The media have chosen to throw out a lot of these old rules when it comes to Trump,” Noyes said.

He questioned whether the media would accept the results of the physical, performed by an Army doctor, if they are positive.

“Will they take it as an unbiased or impartial physical?” he asked.

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

(photo credit, article image: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected].