Is Donald Trump's doctor on the level?


Sanjay Gupta doesn't seem sure: We thought of Dr. Rieux last night—Dr. Bernard Rieux, the calm, sane narrator and central intelligence in Camus' famous novel, The Plague.

We thought of Rieux as we watched CNN—as we listened to Sanjay Gupta's latest review of Sean Conley, the commander in chief's latest puzzling doctor.

Is Dr. Conley on the level? Dr. Gupta doesn't seem real sure. His exchange with Anderson Cooper started out like this:

COOPER (10/8/20): Sanjay, when the president said today, he said, quote, "I don't think I'm contagious at all," and that he feels perfect—that's not how this virus works. 

And we have no idea what's going on with him. We don't know how long he's had it. We don't know how much he spread it.

But you know, they're trying to—they are covering that up successfully. Is there any way to really know how he—way to know how he is doing?

 GUPTA: No, I mean, you know, we're sort of at the mercy of the doctors who say that they want to brief people and disclose how the president is doing, but then they speak in these very vague sort of ways.

I mean, there is a convention that the medical professions communicates messages back and forth, and these letters, and these statements, and even the briefings have all been, you know—we've had to sort of translate these things. So we don't know.

We do know that he wouldn't be out of his contagious period yet, by, you know, lots of data and looking at the CDC guidelines. But I want you to listen to how Dr. Conley just was talking about this, just on Monday, just three days ago.

Gupta played tape of Conley's public statement on Monday. "We're looking to this weekend," Conley said at that time. "If we can get through to Monday, with him remaining the same, or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief."

This past Monday, Conley said we'd have to wait until next Monday. Now, the timeline seemed to have been moved up, with the commander in chief being turned loose on the world.

Have Conley's recent statements made sense? Gupta seemed less than sure:

GUPTA: So that was on Monday, Anderson...And here we are, on Thursday, basically saying that, you know, things are basically back to normal. 

You know, they released this letter today, and I don't know if we have a shot of this letter. But you know, again, there is a convention with the way medical professionals sort of communicate.

One thing about this letter, right away, you'll notice is that there's not even the temperature on here. It's hard to read, obviously. But I can tell you, there's no temperature on here for somebody who has an infection. And that's key, because that's the—not having a temperature is one of the criteria for starting to come out of isolation. 

They don't even mention the temperature here. Instead they say that he has a trajectory of—he has "advanced diagnostics in the right trajectory." I don't even know what that means.

I mean, what tests are those tests—so it's purposely vague and it's disappointing, because again, if you want to present information, then do it. Otherwise, you're presenting this stuff that's sort of gibberish and hard to translate.

Gupta went on and on in that vein. True to his role as a non-partisan medical specialist, he didn't take himself out on a limb. But to our ear, he very much seemed to be asking if Conley is actually on the level at this point in time.

GUPTA: There are there are clear ways to communicate what's going on with the president. We still don't know if he has pneumonia. We don't know when his last negative test is. We don't know what the deal is with these medications, or how they are basically monitoring those. If he is still on the steroids that could be masking all these symptoms.

I know we've talked about this before, and I probably sound like a broken record, but they are purposely being vague. I know this, we read lots of these types of letters from doctors. This is not normal, what's happening here, and by the way, it sort of fits the pattern of other doctor's letters that we've had regarding President Trump.  

We just—we can't really make sense of it. It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

"This is not normal, what's happening here," Gupta said. When he said the current medical communication "fits the pattern of other doctor's letters that we've had regarding President Trump," he was referring to this crackpot president's earlier crackpot doctors—Dr. Harold Bornstein and Dr. Ronny Jackson. 

Like Dr. Rieux in The Plague, Gupta is a careful person who avoids leaping to conclusions. This makes him a welcome presence on cable, where leaping to sketchy conclusions is the national Olympic sport.

Last evening, Lawrence O'Donnell was an undisguised disgrace, a rancid race-based demagogue. Over on CNN, Gupta seemed to be leaning, if reluctantly, in a certain direction. 

He's been calm and sane throughout. We wish there was some sort of trophy he could carry off.


  1. "We thought of Dr. Rieux last night—Dr. Bernard Rieux, the calm, sane narrator and central intelligence in Camus' famous novel, The Plague."

    And we think that you're way too morbid, dear Bob.

    In fact, the 'conversation' of your goebbelsian dembots is very much like a Monty Python sketch.

    Lighten up, dear Bob, lighten up, dear. Yeah, and keep watching your precious mailbox, please; The Dark Lord Putin is definitely after it.

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  2. “If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before.”

    — President Trump, on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

    “I’m back because I’m a perfect physical specimen, and I’m extremely young. And so I am lucky that way.”

    — President Trump, talking about having Covid-19 in a phone call with Fox Business.

  3. It would make sense for Trump to be non-contagious and symptom free this weekend if he contracted covid much earlier than he pretended, before the Rose Garden meeting, way before the debate.

    Maybe Conley is hiding info from us, but definitely Trump is hiding info, lying about his health.

    We should assume the worst about his health, because if his health were good, he would have nothing to cover up, no reason to lie.

    And why is Somerby messing around with Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta, neither of whom have examined Trump, neither of whom has anything to add about his health? They cannot know anything useful.

    We should all be treating Trump as contagious until proven otherwise, sick until proven healthy, and his doctors are no better than shills who will say whatever Trump tells them to say.

    What's new about that, Somerby? This is business as usual for Trump.

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  5. Is Donald Trump's doctor on the level?

    ‪Sanjay Gupta isn’t sure. ‬

    ‪Signed, TDH‬

  6. Somerby shows no awareness that corporate organizations like CNN and MSNBC have an extremely limited audience and influence; shows no awareness that persuasion plays an insignificant role in electoral politics.

  7. Conley is a DO emergency room subspecialist, hardly the kind of physician that would ordinarily be chosen for primary care. Trump’s last primary physician was a gastroenterologist. Of course the gastroenterologist was so corrupt as to allow Trump to dictate his own health summary that was presented to the American people. So we know little or nothing about Trump’s current or past health. Requiring his physicians to sign non disclosure agreements allows Trump to make any bogus claims about his health that suit him with diminished concern about being contradicted, and is of course ridiculous given HIPPA law. But we do know that within the past year he made a Saturday unscheduled visit to the hospital and that he was given a mental status test that he bragged about passing that included questions requiring him to identify the silhouettes of zoo animals. Yes, that was a giraffe. That’s the kind of answer we expect from the leader of the free world. A rarefied genius, as are his followers.

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  9. "On Thursday, workers at Holiday Brook Farm painted bales of hay to showcase their support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    On Friday, the display was set ablaze and destroyed. The farm still reels from the fire this morning."

    Trump supporters do not play by the rules.

  10. Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog talks about the right-wing bubble:

    "But you know who really lives in a bubble? The folks who plotted to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, in the belief that spiriting her out of state, putting her on some sort of trial for treason, and (presumably) executing her would inspire a widespread anti-government uprising rather than appalling the vast majority of Americans the way 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombing did. What gets into revolutionaries' heads? I've been asking that since I was a teenager, in the days of Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Violent American radicals always seem to believe far more people are ready to rise up than actually are.

    Trump's bubble thinking isn't quite as delusional, but it's a difference of degree. Like the would-be kidnappers, he believes that if he does one more rally, or does one more video ad posing on one more balcony, the people will rise up. I know he's trying to steal the election, but he really believes he's trying to win it. He believes he can. And he's just as out of touch as those boogaloo bois."

    1. Ghandi and MLK jr used violence; it took violence to defeat fascists and slavers, to create a democratic nation. It depends on how violence is utilized and to what ends.

    2. You idiot, neither espoused violence. MLK was very vocal about this. Read something once in a while.

  11. Pete Buttigieg says (from Palmer Report):

    "The trouble with having devious liars for political leaders is that when they get sick, they tend to be as corrupt and dishonest about their health as they are about everything else. That brings us to Donald Trump, who’s trying to cover up how bad his coronavirus is, Lindsey Graham, who now refuses to take a coronavirus test, and Mike Pence, who’s disappeared.

    Pete Buttigieg has emerged as one of Joe Biden’s most effective surrogates and is a Democratic Party rising star. He’s throwing down the gauntlet, tweeting this: “Why is Lindsey Graham refusing to take a Covid test? Is the President still on steroids? Where is the Vice President? How much better off would the USA be if we didn’t have to worry about questions like this?”

    1. Buttigieg may be an effective Biden surrogate, but he is not a rising star. The Democratic Party is leaning progressive, Buttigieg is a centrist.

  12. “I’ve been retested and I don’t know the values but I am either very low or negative” Donald Trump, October 10. Well, that’s very reassuring.

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