Of presidents and health, history replete with secrecy, lies

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By DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Throughout American history, an uncomfortable truth has been evident: Presidents have lied about their health.

In some cases, the issues were minor, in others quite grave. And sometimes it took decades for the public to learn the truth.

Now President Donald Trump has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease. The White House initially said he had “mild symptoms.” By Friday evening, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After a rosy press conference by the president’s medical team, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Saturday that Trump had gone through a “very concerning” period Friday and that the next 48 hours would be critical in terms of his care.

Pandemics have cursed the presidencies of both Trump and Woodrow Wilson. Each played down the viruses that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Both presidents got sick — and each had to decide how much to tell the public.

Like many administrations before, Wilson’s White House tried to keep his sickness secret.

He was at talks in Paris on ending World War I when he fell ill in April 1919. His symptoms were so severe and surfaced so…



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