January 16, 2018

President Trump's personal doctor claimed he would be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" when he was a candidate, and now that such a reality has actually come to pass, the 71-year-old earned similar superlatives from presidential physician Ronny Jackson, who said Trump has "incredible genes" and declared him to be "in excellent health." Trump underwent the routine physical examination on Friday in Bethesda, Maryland, the Los Angeles Times reports.

During a press conference Tuesday, Jackson said Trump is 6'3" and weighs 239 pounds, up from 2016 when he weighed 236 pounds, "which the medical community considers overweight; if he were 6-foot-2, as listed on his New York driver's license, he would be considered obese," The Washington Post writes. His heart exam was normal, his total cholesterol was 223, and he did "exceedingly well" on cognitive and neurological tests, which he personally requested, Jackson said. Trump's medications include Crestor for cholesterol, which Jackson said he has increased, aspirin for his heart, Propecia for male pattern hair loss, cream for rosacea, and a multivitamin.

Jackson added that Trump ought to lose 10 to 15 pounds and that he was "more excited about the diet part than the exercise part." Jackson claimed that Trump's slurred speech during a public appearance last month might have been caused by Sudafed, and that an ultrasound after the incident turned up no concerning results.

Less flattering was the opinion of The Washington Post, which noted last week that Trump is "older than all previous presidents when they first took office. He is also the heaviest president in at least a generation and consumes a diet heavy with Big Macs, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, fried chicken, pizza, well-done steak, and two rounds of dessert. He seems to get little exercise beyond swinging a golf club, as he spends most of his time on the course traveling in an electric cart. And he likes to brag about how little sleep he gets." Jeva Lange

April 9, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden is reaching out to Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) supporters, just a little bit.

Sanders suspended his 2020 run on Wednesday, though he pledged to keep collecting delegates and fighting for his progressive platform. So in an effort to win over Sanders' backers, Biden adopted a lighter version of some of Sanders' policies Thursday, pledging to lower the age of Medicare eligibility and forgive some student debt.

In a Thursday blog post, Biden first promised he'd let Americans receive Medicare benefits once they turned 60, a small step down from the current eligibility age of 65. This "reflects the reality that, even after the current crisis ends, older Americans are likely to find it difficult to secure jobs," Biden wrote, though he was sure to point out that "those who prefer to remain on their employer plans would be permitted to do so." Sanders' health care plan, famously known as Medicare-for-all, would swap all private insurance to a universal public plan.

Biden also adopted Sanders' and Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) plans to forgive student loan debt, albeit with several restrictions. Biden would "forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000," he said in the blog post. "Senator Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas," Biden finished in his post, though some Sanders backers weren't totally happy with Biden's proposals. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 9, 2020

Live from ... home ... it's Saturday night!

Saturday Night Live is returning with a new episode this weekend after going off the air amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, NBC announced on Thursday.

This episode will be produced remotely, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it won't have a host. The show's official Twitter account provided a preview, showing the cast assembled on what looks like a rare Zoom call that's actually entertaining.

In recent weeks, late night shows that suspended production due to the coronavirus pandemic have managed to come back with their hosts delivering monologues from home, though a live sketch show with a full cast of performers will naturally be more challenging to replicate remotely.

Details on exactly how this will be pulled off haven't been revealed, and NBC News notes it's not actually clear if the episode will be live. It will reportedly feature Weekend Update in addition to some other unspecified content that will surely require some creativity given the limitations; at least one sketch parodying our newfound reliance on Zoom and other video conference technology is surely in the cards, though. It's also not clear whether SNL will now return on a weekly basis, as at the moment, this is "considered a one-off," the Reporter says.

Either way, expect to get to know SNL cast members' homes pretty well when the show returns on April 11. Brendan Morrow

April 9, 2020

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) isn't too worried about democracy right now.

As Congress discusses further relief bills amid the COVID-19 pandemic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has insisted they include funding for mail-in ballots through the primaries and November election. But McCarthy slammed that demand as "disgusting" on Thursday, even after Wisconsin's pandemic primary proved problematic just days earlier.

"You want to hold up the bill because you want to change election law for November, because you think that gives you some political benefit?” McCarthy told Politico and other reporters during a press call. “That's disgusting to me," he continued, saying Democrats should worry about "the health of the nation" and "our economy" instead.

"The health of the nation" is exactly what Democrats say they are trying to address in funding mail-in voting. The current system relies on in-person voting — something that isn't safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic's stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. Wisconsin displayed how untenable the in-person voting system is on Tuesday when hundreds of polling sites had to close, in-person turnout plunged, and voters were forced to wait for hours in socially distanced lines. Absentee ballot returns skyrocketed, but many people in Wisconsin reported they didn't receive them in time to cast their votes.

Without a provision for remote voting in Congress, every coronavirus relief package can be held up with a single sign of opposition. That's what happened Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) $250 billion small business loan package as Democrats demanded more accountability and an additional $250 billion in funding for health care facilities and local and state governments. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 9, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is no longer in intensive care after being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms.

Downing Street said on Thursday that the British prime minister "has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery," per BBC News. A spokesperson added that he is "in extremely good spirits."

Johnson was admitted to the hospital in London on Sunday, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. Downing Street said this was a "precautionary step" because he continued "to have persistent symptoms," and Johnson said he would receive "some routine tests." He described his coronavirus symptoms as mild on March 27, saying they included a fever and a persistent cough.

On Monday, Johnson was moved into intensive care after his condition "worsened." But now, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday said Johnson is "making positive steps forward. Brendan Morrow

April 9, 2020

Mort Drucker, the beloved artist known for his work at MAD magazine, has died at 91.

Drucker died Thursday at his home in New York, his daughter, Laurie Bachner, confirmed to The New York Times. She told The Associated Press he was experiencing breathing problems and difficulty walking but was not tested for COVID-19.

After joining MAD in 1956, Drucker's caricatures satirizing pop culture soon became iconic, and he illustrated more than half of the magazine's movie parodies from the 1960s through 2008, per the Times. In a 2000 interview with the Times, he noted, "I think I've drawn almost everyone in Hollywood."

Drucker's other notable work includes the poster for George Lucas' American Graffiti; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas personally drove to Drucker's home on Long Island to convince him to draw it.

"The World has lost a not just an extraordinary talent but a shining example of kindness, humility and humor," the National Cartoonists Society said in a statement.

MAD fans on Thursday quickly began sharing their favorite cartoons from Drucker's legendary career, including his parodies of Jaws and Star Wars. "Many of his illustrations are as vivid in my mind as the movies and TV shows that inspired them," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff wrote.

A friend of Drucker's, John Reiner, told CNN's Jake Tapper that Drucker's final words to him were, "I'm the luckiest man — I've had a wonderful life." Brendan Morrow

Update 5 p.m. ET: Since publication, the Times clarified he died on Thursday rather than Wednesday as originally reported. This story has been updated.

April 9, 2020

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages. Marianne Dodson

April 9, 2020

President Trump is reportedly planning to launch an additional coronavirus task force.

The White House is expected to announce the formation of a second task force amid the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis that will be "aimed specifically at combating the economic ramifications of the virus and focused on reopening the nation's economy," The Washington Post reports. This will be in addition to the current coronavirus task force, which consists of officials including Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow are reportedly among those expected to make up this second economy-focused task force, which will have some overlap in membership with the first one and which the Post says will be a "mix of private-sector and top administration officials." CNN reports, in fact, "there has been outreach to figures" like Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council, and "even major sports teams and well-known athletes."

This news comes as the Labor Department on Thursday reported that over the past three weeks, nearly 17 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims.

Axios is also reporting that the economy-focused task force comes at a time when "there is growing energy within the West Wing to start easing people back to work by May," although health officials caution against prematurely lifting social distancing guidelines. Still, Trump's economic team has advised him to "issue economic guidelines in addition to ones about best health practices," CNN reports.

Mnuchin during a Thursday appearance on CNBC said the administration is doing "everything necessary [so] that American companies and American workers can be open for business" possibly as soon as May. A White House spokesperson told the Post, though, that "scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions." Brendan Morrow

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