What a treat it is to have Harold Bornstein contributing anew to our sick national saga.
The good doctor seemed destined to be only a minor character in the sprawling Trump looniverse, having appeared only briefly at the launch of Season One. Yet suddenly here he is again, back on the radar in Season Two — and, who knows, with his Ozzy Osbourne looks and wacky true tales, maybe he’ll get a spinoff show of his own.
As you’ve surely heard, Bornstein has written himself two new plot arcs, breaking a 14-month silence. He says that at the dawn of the Trump occupation, the so-called president dispatched his bodyguard, a Trump Organization lawyer, and an unidentified thug to barge into his office and seize Trump’s original medical records. This peremptory raid — which appears to have been illegal — was staged two days after Bornstein said publicly that Trump used a prescription drug to fight hair loss.
Tell it, doc: “I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”
And yesterday, just as we were digesting that story, Bornstein tossed us another: It turns out (gee, what a shock) that his December 2015 letter, claiming that candidate Trump was a superlative specimen with “extraordinary” strength and stamina, was dictated by Trump himself during a limo ride. In Bornstein’s words now, “That’s black humor, that letter.”
I’m waiting for Trump’s next tweetstorm, and his claim that he has never met Bornstein.
By the way, here’s a fun fact you may not remember. After Trump dictated the Bornstein health letter, he tweeted this: “I am proud to share this health report, written by the highly respected Dr. Jacob Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital.” Turns out, Jacob was Harold’s dad, and in December 2015, Jacob was no longer alive.
So, to review: Trump began that month by tweeting: “As a presidential candidate, I have instructed my long-time doctor to issue, within two weeks, a full medical report — it will show perfection.” Then, days later, he lied blatantly by concocting a fake-news health report which claimed perfection. Then he lied again by attributing it to a dead person.
Let us speculate for a moment. If candidate Barack Obama had ever dictated a phony letter to his personal doctor (declaring that he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”) without a shred of substantiation, and had then tried to attribute it to medical professionals, the fire and fury on the rabid right would’ve exceeded their ire at Obama’s tan suit.
I know, we’re all numb.
But let’s ponder that raid on Bornstein’s office (what a great flashback scene for Season Two). Sarah Huckabee Sanders, back at the propaganda podium, said yesterday that the seizure was “standard operating procedure for a new president.” Naturally, she lied. It’s not standard operating procedure to send a bodyguard, a company lawyer, and a “large man” (Bornstein’s words) to snatch original records. Note that Trump didn’t send the White House medical unit.
Most importantly, under New York law the original records belong to the care provider (for six years after a patient’s last treatment). A patient can request copies, but only after filling out federal privacy paperwork, and there’s no evidence (certainly not from Sanders) that Trump ever filled it out or asked for copies.
So this appears to have been an illegal theft. Bornstein could reasonably press charges, citing violations of state law and the federal health privacy law, and I hope he does, because that would be an awesome subplot for Season Three. Granted, the Trump show is overstuffed with far weightier story lines, including the news that Robert Mueller, in a March meeting, threatened to subpoena Dear Leader. But raiding a doctor’s office seems kind of serious, given the way most people feel about health privacy.
And it seems like a weird way to make America great again.
Yesterday, meanwhile, I ran across this article from the spring of 2000. I had to share.
Conservative icon William F. Buckley, handicapping potential presidential candidates — 18 years ago:
He was concerned about “the encouragement given to demagogues by undiscriminating voters … Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America.
“But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line …
“The resistance to a corrupting demagogy should take first priority.”