Grassley calls candidate health reports a 'fact of political life'
Iowa senator remains active in his 80s
James Q. Lynch
CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s a fact of political life that voters expect presidential candidates to issue at least some information on their health status, Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.
He plans to issue his own version Thursday morning when he makes his annual birthday run from his suburban Washington house to the Capitol building.
Grassley, who will be 83 Saturday, regularly gets up at 4 a.m. and runs three miles four times a week. On his birthday, he runs 6.1 miles from Arlington, Virginia, to the Capitol. Since he won’t be in Washington Saturday, Grassley will make the run Thursday.
“I have a plan to leave the house at 4:15 and get here in a shorter period of time than last year, which was shorter than the year before, but quite frankly, I doubt it,” the Iowa Republican said on his weekly conference call with reporters. He wouldn’t speculate on how long it will take him because “I get into trouble every time I speculate, you know that.”
That was a reference to a stir he caused earlier this summer when he speculated on under what conditions President Barack Obama’s nomination Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court might be considered in a lame duck session of Congress.
Grassley, who is facing a re-election challenge from 72-year-old Democrat Patty Judge, doesn’t issue an annual health report per se, but said he thinks voters expect that from presidential candidates, especially in light of Hillary Clinton’s recent health problems.
“If they weren’t running for president of the United States I’d say it’s probably nobody’s business, but it’s been kind of traditional here in the last several years,” Grassley said.
Clinton appeared to collapse last week when she made an early departure from a New York City 9/11 tribute. Later, Clinton said she had pneumonia and left the campaign trail for a couple of days.
Republican Donald Trump was scheduled to release his health records on “The Dr. Oz Show” daytime television show, but said Wednesday he only would discuss general wellness and health topics in the news.
Grassley noted that presidents and their doctors routinely issue a health report after the president’s annual physical at Bethesda Naval Hospital.