Dr. Harold Bornstein — who said Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” — is claiming Trump associates “raided” his private practice to seize the president’s medical records.
Bornstein, Trump’s personal doctor in New York for decades, told NBC News that Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten, and another individual arrived at his office unannounced and took Trump’s medical records in February 2017. The trio took the original copies of charts and lab reports under Trump’s name and some pseudonyms Trump apparently used, according to Bornstein. The visitors also allegedly asked the doctor to remove a picture of the doctor and Trump that had been hanging on his wall.
Bornstein said the unexpected visit came a couple of days after he gave an interview to the New York Times about his treatment of Trump, in which he mentioned that he prescribed Trump a hair-growth medicine for years.
“I’ve been waiting, humiliated, for an entire year,” Bornstein told CNN. “How would you feel if you cared for someone for 35 years, they came and robbed your office?”
As president, Trump came under the care of the White House Medical Unit, and he retained Ronny L. Jackson from the Obama administration as his personal physician. It’s likely that Jackson would want and need Trump’s medical documents, but if Bornstein’s account is accurate, the manner in which they were obtained raises some serious questions.
A source told NBC News that Jackson had written a letter requesting documents, but it’s unclear if the president signed a HIPAA release form — required under patient privacy law to give authorization to release medical records.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed Bornstein’s account during a Tuesday afternoon press briefing. “As is standard operating procedure for a new president,” Sanders said, “the White House Medical Unit took possession of the president’s medical records.”
WATCH: Sarah Huckabee-Sanders denies that Trump‘s personal doctor’s offices were “raided.”
“As is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House medical unit took possession of the president’s medical records.” pic.twitter.com/Ikp57ItNF3
Another source familiar with the visit to Bornstein’s office described it as a business meeting to CNN, and said the doctor “overreacted” when Schiller and Garten showed up to his office and made a “big deal” of the request for Trump’s records. This source described Bornstein as flustered and said he had trouble getting his photocopier to work. Eventually, Schiller left with the original copies of the records.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 1, 2018
The confessions of Dr. Bornstein
Bornstein’s troubles seemed to have begun after he gave a candid interview to the New York Times about his longtime patient, Donald Trump, shortly after his inauguration. In it, Bornstein let slip that he had prescribed Trump Propecia, a drug that treats prostate issues and also helps hair growth.
On Tuesday, the doctor blamed the report for causing him “torture for more than a year,” according to the Times. He also demanded that the publication apologize and give a donation in Bornstein’s name to his medical school, Tufts University — requests the Times turned down.
Bornstein said he finally decided to speak out about the fallout from the Propecia confession and the surprise February 2017 visit after allegations about Ronny Jackson surfaced, including that he overprescribed or inappropriately handed out drugs. The accusations forced Jackson, who served as physician to three presidents, to withdraw his nomination for secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Bornstein — not unlike Jackson himself — seemed to also have a flair for the dramatic in his medical assessments of Trump. In 2015, as Trump campaigned for the Republican nomination, Bornstein described Trump’s health as “astonishingly excellent” and wrote that “if elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
But Bornstein, now that he’s officially fallen out of favor with his “astonishingly excellent” patient, is now admitting that Trump himself dictated the assessment.
Bornstein previously said he wrote the letter in five minutes and excused his Trumpian hyperbole because all the other presidents “are either sick or dead.”
Turns out, Bornstein told CNN, Trump gave him instructions on what write as he was driving across Central Park with his wife, then picked it up later. So those who questioned whether the letter was a joke were apparently on to something. “That’s black humor, that letter. That’s my sense of humor,” Bornstein told CNN. “It’s like the movie Fargo: It takes the truth and moves it in a different direction.”