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Hiding Presidential Illness a Disturbing Pattern

Hiding Presidential Illness a Disturbing Pattern
President Woodrow Wilson's disabling condition was hidden from the public. (AP)

Scot Faulkner By Monday, 10 June 2024 08:49 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

It is a heinous act to conceal presidential infirmity.
The recent Wall Street Journal article unmasked what most already knew. President Biden is no longer capable of leading.
This is not the first time a president’s medical condition was hidden from the public. Democrats have done it four other times.
Grover Cleveland
On June 19, 1893, the president’s personal physician diagnosed a cancerous lesion in Cleveland’s mouth. This triggered an elaborate series of subterfuges to hide the president’s condition and the required surgery.
Delaying a special session of Congress until August 7, 1893, opened a window of time for the president to be treated. Cleveland boarded a private yacht in New York on July 1. His medical team rendezvoused under cover of darkness.
The surgery was performed on the yacht. A second surgery was performed at the president’s summer retreat at Gray Gables. A special prosthetic was installed in the roof of Cleveland’s mouth to fill the surgical hole and mitigate any speech difficulties.
Reporters questioned the president’s movements. White House aides spun cover stories that kept things covered-up until August 29, when a story ran in the Philadelphia Press newspaper.
The story was attacked as anti-Cleveland propaganda and faded from public interest. It was not until Francis Cleveland, the president’s widow, authorized the truth to be told in 1917.
Woodrow Wilson
On October 2, 1919, President Wilson suffered a serious ischemic stroke. He started experiencing neurological problems on September 25, 1919.
The president’s personal physician, Admiral Cary Grayson, kept the severity of the stroke hidden. He refused to officially diagnose any disability.
Dr. Grayson and the president’s wife, Edith Wilson, began a series of subterfuges to conceal the president’s incapacitation. They hid behind patient-physician confidentiality, asserting it superseded national security.
With the assistance of Dr. Grayson, Edith began her “stewardship.” She delegated Executive Branch operations and most decisions to Cabinet secretaries. She selected what and when key matters should involve the president’s limited decision-making capabilities.
The full details of Edith Wilson’s role as “regent” were not known until her memoir in 1939.
Franklin Roosevelt
On August 21, 1921, Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) was diagnosed with polio at age 39.
While his underlying condition was well known, the full extent of his chronic physical limitations was concealed and replaced with the story of a heroic recovery.
FDR’s public appearances were choreographed to limit media coverage. No photos were allowed showing his transfers to and from vehicles and railroad cars.
He always had a physically strong aide to help him stand and walk. The Secret Service actively blocked photographers and destroyed any photographs that showed his disability.
In November 1943, after a marathon of meetings related to the Tehran Summit, FDR was diagnosed with hypertension and congestive heart failure. The official physician continued to pronounce the president’s health “excellent in all respects.”
However, in June 1944, a consulting physician privately stated, “I do not believe that, if Mr. Roosvelt were elected president again, he has the physical capacity to complete a fourth term.”
This dire prognosis was kept from the public.
FDR, clearly weakened and in his final months of life, attended the Yalta Summit February 4-11, 1945. It was at this Summit that Eastern Europe was handed over to Soviet domination. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945.
John F. Kennedy
President Kennedy (JFK) endured back pain from injuries sustained in the sinking of PT109. What was less known was his degenerative autoimmune polyglandular syndrome, known as Addison’s Disease. This genetic disease affected his adrenal and later his thyroid gland.
JFK needed drugs and surgery to treat Addison attacks during the 1950s. A surgery performed in 1954 triggered severe infection. It was life-threatening, and he received Last Rights.
Repeated infections impaired JFK throughout 1961, including during the Bay of Pigs and Berlin Wall crises.
During the 1960 presidential campaign, media inquiries about JFK’s Addison’s Disease met with denials. Spokespeople begrudgingly admitted to a “mild adrenal insufficiency.”
JFK was secretly treated by Dr. Max Jacobson, known as “Dr. Feelgood” in celebrity circles. During 34 White House visits, Dr. Jacobson treated Kennedy for his World War II back pain with multiple injections of strong pain killers including amphetamine and methamphetamine.
Their documented side-effects included impaired judgment, nervousness and wild mood swings. Kennedy intimates observed improvements in the president’s mental acuity when the treatments ended in mid-1962.
Concealing a president’s serious illness undermines the trust we must have. It raises disturbing questions about who is really running things. It creates uncertainty and instability. It emboldens enemies.
It eviscerates the very core of public accountability and defies the Constitutional protections outlined in the 25th Amendment on having a viable President.
Hiding a president’s illness is wrong and dangerous, for America and the world.

Scot Faulkner is the best-selling author of "Naked Emperors: The Failure of the Republican Revolution." He also served as the first chief administrative officer of the U.S. House, and was director of personnel for the Reagan campaign and went on to serve in the presidential transition team and on the White House staff. During the Reagan administration, he held executive positions at the FAA, the GSA, and the Peace Corps. Read Scot Faulker's reports — More Here.

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This is not the first time a president’s medical condition was hidden from the public. Democrats have done it four other times.
presidents, illness, democrats
Monday, 10 June 2024 08:49 AM
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