Dr. Harold Bornstein,  personal physician to Donald Trump arrives at his office in December 2015.
CNN  — 

The White House released the results of President Donald Trump’s annual physical on Wednesday, largely to a ho-hum reception.

Yes, Trump gained a pound from last year and, yes, that gives him a Body Mass Index of 30.5, meaning he is technically “obese.” On a more positive note, Trump’s cholesterol dropped to 167 – down from 196 in 2019 and an unhealthy 223 in 2018.

“There were no findings of significance or changes to report,” White House physician Sean Conley wrote in a memo detailing the results of the physical.

What the coverage of this seemingly humdrum health report overlooks is this fundamental reality: We know less about Trump’s medical history than almost any president (or even most presidential candidates) of the modern era. And that fact is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Trump is the oldest president ever elected to a first term.

Let’s start here: There is no law as to what presidential candidates need to release when it comes to their medical history. Most have their doctor put out a relatively detailed letter that walks through all of their vitals, any medicines they regularly take and any past or current illnesses they have experienced.

These letters – and medical records – vary widely depending on how much of a concern a candidate’s health may be. For example, in the 2008 race, Barack Obama released a short letter from his doctor while Sen. John McCain allowed reporters a look at much more detailed accounts of his medical past. The difference? Obama was a 47-year-old healthy man. McCain was 71 and had suffered lifelong injuries as a result of his time spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, not to mention several bouts with cancer.

Which brings us to Trump and what he did to address concerns during the 2016 campaign that he would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president. What did he do? Well, he released a letter from his personal physician. But it was, um, not the sort of letter that other presidential candidates had released.

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” wrote Dr. Harold Bornstein in the December 2015. He added: “His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.”

Which, on its face, is a ridiculous claim. Bornstein had never examined any past president. So his ability to claim that Trump would be the “healthiest individual” ever to be president is roughly equivalent to my ability to say the same.

At the time when the letter was released, it was subject to widespread mockery – mostly because it read like Trump himself had written it. Which it turns out he did, at least according to Bornstein.

“He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN in 2018. “I just made it up as I went along.” Added Bornstein: “(Trump) dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn’t put in there. They came to pick up their letter at 4 o’clock or something.”

Bornstein also told NBC that Trump’s medical records had been taken from him by former Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller and another man just days after the doctor told The New York Times that the President took medicine to grow his hair.

So, take a step back. The only information we have about Trump’s health prior to the annual physical he is subject to in the White House comes in the form of a letter that his personal physician at the time says was entirely dictated by Trump. And the medical records that might shed some light on Trump’s past medical history have been confiscated by Trump associates.

Which kind of feels like the plot of a movie, not real life. But it is real life!

To be clear: Like Donald Trump’s tax history, we are almost certain to never see any piece of his medical history – and certainly not in the 2020 campaign. (For what it’s worth, Joe Biden, who is 77, released the details of a recent physical in December 2019.)

And Trump won’t win or lose the election because of it – although, for someone with such an opaque medical history, he sure does spend a lot of time attacking Biden’s physical and mental fitness for office.

But like so much of Trump’s presidency, his approach to his health and medical history is deeply abnormal. And that has to be noted.