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Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.
“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.
Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:
Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’
Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday.
“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “
Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.
“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”
White House doctor says despite President Trump's fast food habit and lack of exercise, he's in "excellent" condition; "He has incredibly good genes, and it's just the way God made him" https://t.co/fpNP3Hpnco pic.twitter.com/VGoTFSgp7C— CNN (@CNN) January 16, 2018
Cognitive screening showed no issues
Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.
“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”
He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”
“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”
Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication
A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.
“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.
He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”
Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds
At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.
“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.
“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.
Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels
Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.
“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”
Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 10:29 PM
Under growing pressure from the House to change how lawmakers deal with workplace harassment claims and damage awards, the Senate on Thursday approved a package of reforms that would not allow members to use taxpayer funds to pay any legal settlements, and change the process for Congressional employees to bring complaints against lawmakers.
“This is an incredibly important moment,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who joined with Senators in both parties to forge a compromise that was approved on a voice vote.
“We are completely overhauling the sexual harassment policies of the Congress,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor.
“These reforms are commonsense,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who had been more and more vocal in recent days about the lack of action on a similar measure passed by the House.
Along with streamlining the process for employees to bring a complaint – and then have it evaluated by Congressional officials – the plan would force members to personally pay for any legal settlement, and not have taxpayers foot the bill.
“Hardworking taxpayers should not foot the bill for a Member’s misconduct, and victims should not have to navigate a system that stands in the way of accountability,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
The extra protections for employees would also be extended to unpaid staffers on Capitol Hill, including interns, legislative fellows, and detailees from other executive branch offices.
As the Senate approved the plan, the leaders of the House Ethics Committee confirmed that ex-Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) had reimbursed taxpayers for a $39,000 settlement involving a former female staffer in his office.
“We understand he sent that reimbursement payment to the Treasury. We welcome that action,” said ethics chair Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), and the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), in a joint statement.
“There is overwhelming bipartisan consensus in the House that Members should be personally accountable for settlements paid with public funds to resolve claims against them alleging sexual harassment,” Brooks and Deutch wrote in a statement.
But what about when lawmakers leave the Congress? The ethics leaders said even then – they should still have to pay up.
Brooks and Deutch also noted that ex-Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) – who had resigned without following through on a promise to pay off an $84,000 settlement – was a perfect example of why the system needs to be changed.
“Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him for claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation,” they wrote.
“Last week, he announced that he would not do so,” the two added.
The House and Senate must still hammer out a compromise measure between the bills passed by each chamber – but the Senate vote gives a new shot of energy to the effort, though there are House members who feel the Senate plan is not strong enough, especially in dealing with lawmakers.
“I’m optimistic that we can finish the job and get this bill signed into law,” Gillibrand added.
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:37 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:37 AM
— The House has passed a $717 billion defense policy bill that would give the military a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years and allow for a major expansion at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The bill OKs a massive $182 million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at the base, one of the largest expansions in history.
The bipartisan 351-66 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where a key panel completed a companion measure in a closed-door session on Wednesday.
The new building would be funded at one time instead of broken into two stages. The Air Force had initially asked for $116 million with another $66 million to be requested in future years.
The annual measure sets policies and a budget outline for the Pentagon that are funded by a subsequent appropriations bill that typically follows its parameters fairly closely.
“To put it in perspective, this building would receive more military construction funding than Wright-Patterson received in military construction funding in the last nine years,” Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs, said earlier this month.
Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces pushed for multiple provisions included in the legislation including the NASIC expansion and expediting hiring of civilians into high-tech fields.
“All of the provisions I included in the National Defense Authorization Act remained in the bill and overwhelmingly passed the House today, bringing our community one step closer to getting $182 million for a new building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Turner said in a statement. “I fought for key provisions in this bill to bolster our community, ensure the safety of our men and women in uniform, and keep our country secure.”
The military got a major budget increase under the terms of a bipartisan pact passed earlier this year that the Pentagon's many allies in Washington promise will address shortfalls in military readiness such as pilot training, maintenance of equipment, and procurement of new weapons systems.
Readiness issues contributed to a situation in which almost four times as many military service members died in training accidents as opposed to combat. Just this spring, aviation accidents have claimed 25 lives.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said that the measure puts a particular focus on pilot training and retention.
"The key focus of this bill is restoring readiness to ensure that when our men and women in uniform go out on mission, they have the best equipment, the best training and the best support our nation can provide," Thornberry said.
The measure would block the use of operational military units or military equipment if President Donald Trump carries out plans for a massive military parade in Washington, D.C., if it would hamper military readiness.
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 2:58 PM
After days of increasingly bellicose statements from Pyongyang, President Donald Trump on Thursday pulled the plug on a scheduled June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but left the door open to future negotiations over efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” the President said at the White House.
Mr. Trump’s remarks came several hours after he sent a letter to Kim Jong Un, calling off their summit, as U.S. officials laid the blame directly on the North Koreans.
“While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” the President said.
Both in his letter to Kim, and in his public remarks, the President edged back toward some of the tougher rhetoric that had characterized the Kim-Trump relationship of last year, when the two men lobbed threats of possible military action.
“Hopefully, positive things will be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea. But if they don’t, we are more ready than we have ever been before,” Mr. Trump said.
His letter was even more direct.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Mr. Trump wrote, labeling the cancelled summit a ‘missed opportunity.’
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers asked the Secretary of State – who happened to be at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – what would happen next, as Secretary Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would continue with the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Pyongyang, and wait for the response of Kim Jong Un.
“I am hopeful that we can continue to have conversations so that we can put his back on track,” Pompeo said, though he admitted it was not clear why the North Koreans suddenly went from being willing partners to not answering phone calls.
“I don’t really know I want to speculate why they took those actions, because I don’t think we know,” Pompeo added.
“In some ways, it’s situation normal,” Pompeo said to one question. “The pressure campaign continues.”
Pompeo sparred with several Senate Democrats during the hearing, as he rejected assertions that the U.S. had rushed into a summit with Kim, and wasn’t really prepared to deal with a North Korean leader who is known for sudden course changes.
“Unfortunately, it seems that our chief diplomat is negotiating war,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) of Pompeo.
“From the beginning, when Trump impulsively decided that he would meet with Kim Jong Un, it has been clear that the summit involved very little preparation,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“We cannot return to the name-calling and saber-rattling of the last year,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 9:58 AM
After days of uncertainty about a planned June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump on Thursday told Kim in a letter that because of hostile statements from the Pyongyang regime in recent days, the summit in Singapore would not take place.
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is in appropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” the President wrote in his letter to Kim.
The decision came as North Korean officials seemed to back away from public assurances that they would give up on their nuclear weapons program, which had been Mr. Trump’s demand from the start – as the President delivered a clear warning to Kim about a possible conflict.
“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Mr. Trump wrote.
Here is the President’s letter to Kim Jong Un.