The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New questions about Trump’s doctor’s note create opening for Clinton to fire back on health rumors

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on June 15 and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on June 13. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Hillary Clinton's campaign is raising new questions about the validity of Donald Trump's medical report and using it as an opportunity to once again underscore Trump's lack of transparency on a series of issues.

Clinton's campaign is both prodding Trump to release real medical information and poking fun at his unconventional doctor's letter after the doctor who wrote Trump's note said that he spent five minutes writing the report, which declared that Trump would be "unequivocally" the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

Clinton's campaign is using the incident to highlight what they say is Trump's pattern for withholding disclosures that had been required of previous presidential candidates in modern history, from this medical report to his tax returns.

In the coming days, the campaign is expected to continue to draw attention to Trump's refusal to make disclosures public.

At the same time, Trump has raised questions — largely based on debunked conspiracy theories — to suggest that Clinton lacks the "stamina" necessary to be president.

In a new blog post on Clinton's website which "annotated" Trump's doctor's note, the tone was gleeful: "We aren’t medical professionals, but we can appreciate a good doctor’s note when we see one," read the sub-headline.

In 2015, Clinton's doctor, Lisa Bardack, released a letter attesting to her health, and disclosing that she takes thyroid medication as well as specific information about her vital signs, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Trump's own release is remarkably thin for a modern-day presidential candidate who would be the oldest newly elected president in United States history.

In December, Trump, 70, released a four-paragraph letter from his doctor, Harold N. Bornstein of New York, that contained few specific details, including about basic health indicators.

Bornstein told NBC News in an interview broadcast last week that he wrote the letter in about five minutes while a limousine waited outside. He said he didn't proofread it. Bornstein said in writing the letter that he "picked up" Trump's "kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own."

The Clinton campaign's blog post proceeds to pick apart Bronstein's letter, raising questions about the professionalism of its tone and its lack of real information about the candidate.

"Dr. Bornstein describes Trump’s lab test results as 'astonishingly excellent,' which isn’t a real medical description. And while we’re at it: Why would a doctor ever be astonished by good test results?" the post says. "Dr. Bornstein doesn’t explain what tests he conducted to know that Trump’s 'physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,' so we’ll just have to take his word for it."

This isn't the first time the Clinton campaign has waded into the murky waters of health disclosures.

Two weeks ago, the campaign released a lengthy pushback against fake documents being distributed online in conservative circles that were being presented as evidence of Clinton's poor health.

That unusual response came as Trump and his supporters, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, began publicly repeating unsubstantiated claims about Clinton's health.

Clinton's aides view their efforts to highlighting the shady origins of Trump's talking points on her health as culminating with Clinton's speech in Reno, Nev., on Thursday. In the speech, she linked Trump to racist and xenophobic characters online and said that his willingness to amplify their views on the national stage made him unfit to serve as president.

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to challenge Clinton to release more thorough medical information and said he would not have an issue with releasing more of his own records.

"I think that both candidates, Crooked Hillary and myself, should release detailed medical records. I have no problem in doing so! Hillary?" he tweeted.

But the Clinton campaign maintains that Trump's current level of disclosures do not even reach the basic requirements that Clinton has already met.

"From hiding his tax returns and the extent of his debt laden conflicts of interests with foreign interests to the laughable “medical record’ that was literally written in five minutes, Donald Trump is making a mockery of transparency," said Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin. "We know the least about Donald Trump of any candidate in recent memory."

"While Trump and his allies push conspiracy theories designed to delegitimize her personally, we will continue to go on offense and call out the truly destructive theories calmly, but aggressively, and in real time,” he added.