The president’s health: How much does the public get to know?

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Former presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy all concealed the scope and extent of their illnesses. Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay

For more than 100 years, the White House has gone out of its way to obfuscate or outright deceive the public about the president’s medical condition. In 1893, President Grover Cleveland had secret oral cancer surgery aboard his friend’s yacht. Throughout the 20th century, presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy all concealed the scope and extent of their illnesses.

Now the U.S. is undergoing the most serious presidential health crisis since Ronald Reagan was shot just months into his first term in 1981.

Credits

Guest:
Tim Naftali - Clinical Associate Professor of History and Public Service at NYU and the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library - @TimNaftali

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Caleigh Wells, Angie Perrin