There has been nothing in American history quite like the President of the United States being infected with a potentially deadly virus amid a global pandemic less than a month before Election Day. But President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is part of a long history of White House medical dramas.
In 1790, George Washington fell severely ill, threatening his life and the young nation he led.
Some suspected assassination, perhaps by poisoning, when President Zachary Taylor died unexpectedly after a brief and unexpected illness on July 9, 1850. What actually took down this previously robust military man?
President Grover Cleveland believed that if anything happened to his trademark mustache during his surgery at sea, the public would know something was wrong.
During the summer of 1923, President Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Harding did what many do during the warmer months: They decided to take a road trip. Though much of the trip went well, by the end of the summer, Harding would end up dead and his wife’s reputation under attack.
Roosevelt, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, probably had a year to live, a doctor said. The president, a Democrat, decided to run anyway — and to do everything he could to put a healthy face on a dying one.
An interview with Lawrence Altman, a physician who has been writing for the New York Times for more than fifty years, with a focus on the health of political leaders. His interview with Ronald Reagan in 1980 marked the first time a candidate had extensively discussed his health with a reporter.
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