President Trump’s personal physician, Harold Bornstein, is still talking to the press, and still saying some strange things.
In a new interview with the New York Times, Bornstein discloses that Trump takes a couple of previously undisclosed drugs: finasteride, a prostate drug that can be (and in Trump’s case is) used as a hair-loss treatment, and another drug for rosacea, a skin problem.
Here’s the Times report:
President Trump takes medication for three ailments, including a prostate-related drug to promote hair growth, Mr. Trump’s longtime physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, said in a series of recent interviews.
The other drugs are antibiotics to control rosacea, a common skin problem, and a statin for elevated blood cholesterol and lipids.
Dr. Bornstein, who spoke by telephone in four interviews over the past month, also said that Mr. Trump takes a daily baby aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack. Over all, he pronounced Mr. Trump healthy and his medical care “as exactly up to date.”
The Times notes that Trump’s use of the hair-loss drug “has not been publicly known.” But that seems to be a charitable characterization; a less-charitable one would be that his use of these drugs was deliberately hidden.
When he was a presidential candidate, Trump and Bornstein made two separate medical disclosures — one in a hyperbolic letter from Bornstein that was widely derided for claiming that Trump would be the healthiest president ever (despite being the oldest ever elected), and a second in an at-times-strange interview Trump did with Dr. Oz, the controversial TV host and commentator.
In the initial letter, Bornstein only disclosed that Trump takes “81 mg of aspirin daily and a low dose of a statin.” There was no mention of any other medications, though the letter didn’t necessarily say these were the only drugs he was taking.
But in the interview with Oz, Oz seemed to be led to believe that the statin was the “only” drug Trump was taking, and Trump didn’t correct him. Here’s the transcript:
OZ: You’re only on the statin drug you mentioned. If a patient of mine had these records, I’d be really happy. And I’d send them on their way.
TRUMP: That’s good.
OZ: I must say, I would have shared this earlier. Why didn’t you blast this out?
TRUMP: I didn’t think it was necessary, you know, the public has known me for a long time.
The two quickly moved on to other topics.
In a separate portion of the interview, Oz gave Trump another chance to mention his use of finasteride, when he mentioned how good Trump’s prostate specific antigen, or PSA, level was. Finasteride helps lower PSA, but Trump again didn’t mention that he was taking a drug that might have that benefit (emphasis added):
OZ: Bladder or prostate issues? I saw the one letter released had a low PSA.
TRUMP: My PSA has been very good. I don’t know what’s going on, but so many of my friends are having problems where they’re getting the operation or they’re going for radiation. And it’s always the first number I ask for. I say give me that number. I want to know, and my number’s been — as you say it’s been a very good number.
Trump has never been a model of personal disclosure — whether on his personal finances (he still hasn’t released his tax returns) or his medical history. The Oz interview, notably, didn’t include a public medical report and relied upon Oz to relay all the information.
But Trump was clearly given two opportunities to disclose these drugs — three, if you include his first medical letter — and he declined in each case.
Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix.