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Friday, April 23, 2021

The President’s Ears Are Still Working, so Who Knows?

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Editor’s note: The following are two articles from the print edition of The New York Times that ran on Friday, which provide a closer look at Donald Trump’s recent hospitalization and how he has been promoting his 2020 campaign since getting better.

There are many questions to be answered about the physical and mental health of the president: Mr. Trump must undergo an examination by his physician, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, next month. He is taking the ninth hormone treatment of his first adult life and was seen in a wheelchair after he had surgery for a pinched nerve in his back, which is another medical matter.

But Mr. Trump’s statement that there has been “nothing major” to report and his boast that he is “very stable” make it clear that the 69-year-old president, who has shown a remarkable resistance to institutional checks on his power, has felt emboldened to return to a campaign for a second term.

Here is a sampling of untrue statements he made at his rallies on Thursday and Friday.

• “He went in, they said, he’s in for anti-aging. And he said, ‘No, I don’t mind if I get geriatric.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, they’re calling you in for geriatric because you’re very geriatric.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t mind. I’m very stable. And I’ll be around a lot longer than that.’”

On Thursday, Mr. Trump sought to defend his hardline immigration policies as he defended his honor in a rare weekend appearance. On Saturday morning, in his first post-hospital appearance, he said that when he spoke to reporters on Thursday he was being treated for a “tremendous spasm of the cervix, and the artery” and that he was “very stable.”

• “We’re going to build a wall because we have no choice.”

The party that controls the White House almost invariably brags about how it will spend — and waste — taxpayer money, especially in a midterm election year when the party in the White House could lose seats.

Mr. Trump gave the crowd at a Florida rally just after midnight a distorted version of the official federal statistics about the amount of money spent on federal construction projects. “We’re getting a better deal than you would get if you buy your house,” he said.

The claim was false, since the government reports the actual construction cost, not the cost of each project, not the actual purchase price.

• “He said, ‘Look, I can talk with you about border security, but we need a wall, and we need a fence.’”

The administration has provided only scant details about the location, price and timeline for its wall project. But Mr. Trump implied that he and his secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, could persuade lawmakers to accept the construction of a barrier that they insist Mexico will pay for.

“She did such a great job in Border Patrol,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Nielsen, calling her a “great civil servant.” He did not elaborate.

“She said, ‘Look,’” Mr. Trump said, with Ms. Nielsen listening, “‘I want you to know, first and foremost, I don’t like walls, but I said, ‘Mr. President, this wall is too important to leave out’” — and then someone in the crowd shouted, “Build that wall!” — “and I said, ‘No, you just need the fence, Kirstjen.’”

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