One of my interest, and the subject of several talks, has been the Health and Deaths of US Presidents. The more I have pursued this subject the more I have become aware of cover-ups by our Presidents, especially related to matters of health. This first became apparent to me, years ago, when I was in the army at Walter Reed Hospital. Eisenhower died while I was there and I viewed a post-mortem X-Ray of his heart that showed marked calcification of his heart muscle indicating long standing coronary artery disease. Eisenhower is documented to have had his first heart attack in 1955 but this was downplayed by the media. He subsequently had a total of seven heart attacks and heroic measures were made to keep him alive for the last ten months of his life at Walter Reed Hospital. The public knew little about all this. His first heart attack may have been as early as 1947 before he was President and we knew nothing about that. I have spoken to the archivist at the Eisenhower Library and his early medical records, before 1955, have mysteriously disappeared and there is also no record of his autopsy report.
Many presidents have covered up their medical problems as well as other things, like affairs and scandals. Chester A. Arthur had chronic renal disease and the public knew nothing about his illness, which caused him not to seek a second term. Grover Cleveland had a secret operation on his yacht for a tumor in the roof of his mouth for which a rubber prosthesis was inserted and the public knew noting about this. Woodrow Wilson was the biggest health cover up President. Wilson had a massive stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body. His wife covered for him and took care of the Presidential duties. Franklin Roosevelt had polio and was paralyzed from the waist down. The public only saw one picture of him in a wheel chair. He always appeared to be standing or sitting behind a podium or desk. Roosevelt became severely ill with hypertension and congestive heart failure during his last term but the public was not informed. Kennedy was on a lot of pain medications and also took steroids for his Addison’s Disease and the public was again uninformed.
The list of cover-ups goes on and on with almost every President having something to hide. Clinton said “ I did not have sex with that woman.” I guess it depends on the definition of sex to judge whether he was attempting to cover up. We don’t even know for sure where Barack Obama was born. Everybody knows about Nixon’s Watergate cover up, but in retrospect that is routine stuff compared to everyone else. Jefferson’s long standing affair with a black slave was not known until many years after his death and half the black, red-headed folks in the country claimed to be his descendants.
It’s just the nature of politicians to lie. Cover up is a natural thing for them and they don’t even feel guilty about it. Maybe we just shouldn’t care. Now days, the media is certainly going to bring all these things to the forefront because it is usually juicy and sensational news. The media is overdoing it. I think I prefer the old days when we were kept in the dark and didn’t know anything. Being ignorant makes life on the porch more comfortable but it does take away a little of the excitement.