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It's a real shame Trump didn't eat more fish

Cast your mind back to the 1970s. A young Czech-born model named Ivana joins her husband-to-be at the touristy restau...

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 7:15 PM

Cast your mind back to the 1970s. A young Czech-born model named Ivana joins her husband-to-be at the touristy restaurant called Tavern on the Green on the west side of New York's Central Park.

The waiter, bending to hear the orders at a table crowed with a group hosted by the father of the clan, hears one person after another say: "I'll have the steak."

When Ivana's turn came, she opened her mouth to speak and was interrupted by the paterfamilias. "She'll have the steak," said Fred Trump Sr., real estate magnate and father of a future president of the United States.

"No, I'll have the fish," she says. "No, she'll have the steak."

In the showdown, Ivana didn't budge. She got the fish and thus established she was her own person, with her own preferences. Donald Trump, the man who would become first her husband and then POTUS, had the steak. He would order it countless times in the future. And when he wasn't choking down on sirloin, it would be fried chicken or hamburgers.

Fast-forward 40-plus years and Ivana is no longer Mrs. Trump, and she's sharing her dining room story with me to explain how domineering Fred Trump could be and how she won his respect. This conversation, which was part of an interview for the biography I wrote about her ex-husband, also illustrated the President's approach to diet and fitness.

As everyone who has paid attention knows, President Trump has never been a health nut. His diet is famously poor and his approach to exercise begins and ends with golf played from a riding cart.

When I interviewed Trump, we met in his home, which was atop Trump Tower, and then, after the tape recorder was switched off, we went downstairs to his office before saying goodbye. Each time, he walked me through the gym that was on a floor of the building, so he could show off one of the towers amenities. He repeated this tour the way he repeated stories, and each time he would say: "I'm told it's a good gym. I don't know. I don't use it."

During the campaign for the White House, candidate Trump showed he had ample energy, criss-crossing the country and giving impassioned speeches. However, he was enabled by a staff of handlers, his private jet and a carefully-planned schedule.

And though people around him insisted he had a young man's vigor, so many misrepresentations came out of his mouth -- and the mouths of his aides -- that no one could know what was true.

As with so many things about Trump, Americans were asked to ignore what they saw with their own eyes -- a substantially overweight man of 70 dining on fried chicken and burgers -- and accept the sales pitch.

In the meantime, his side did everything they could to suggest that opponent Hillary Clinton was hiding one health problem or another and physically unfit for office. In August, the candidate himself said Clinton lacked the "physical stamina" to serve.

Looking at the two, no one with eyes to see would imagine Trump was healthier.

Further dissonance arose when Trump and Clinton issued medical reports. Hers was comparable in detail to those released by Barack Obama and his opponents in 2008 and 2012. Her physician, an internist, noted hypothyroidism but declared her in good condition.

Trump's medical report was filed by a gastroenterologist, hardly a general medicine expert, who in Trumpian fashion declared he would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," though he offered little real information.

This week, the world learned that Trump's doctor was either more salesman than physician, or he didn't perform the kind of tests and analysis that would permit his glowing report.

The White House, to its credit, announced that the President has a form of heart disease, which, barring changes that might occur with diet and exercise, put him at moderate risk of a heart attack in three to five years.

News of the heart condition comes amid concerns -- contradicted by the White House physician -- that Trump could suffer from a cognitive problem. (Turns out his intemperate behavior and statements are a matter of character and attitude.)

I for one always thought the problem with Trump was his heart, not his mind. But I was speaking symbolically, not medically. As we now know, the trouble -- if truly cardiac and if his longstanding habits are any indicators to go by -- he will struggle to change in ways that could help him.

I think it is worth noting that the President's temperament, which is one type of heart problem, and his health concern, which is another, may have the same antecedent.

Fred Trump was a demanding, impatient man who likely laid the foundation for Donald Trump's own bullying tendencies. He also set the dietary template, insisting everyone should have the steak.

Considering the son's problems today, one can't help but wish Fred had been a kinder, gentler father who taught his boy it was okay to order the fish.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
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