Bernie Sanders backtracks on 'full disclosure' pledge on his medical records

Bernie Sanders has reversed course on a pledge of “full disclosure” when it comes to the release of his medical records.

During a CNN town hall on Tuesday, Sanders, who is 78 and had a heart attack in October, was asked by moderator Anderson Cooper whether he would be making public more of his medical records.

“I think we have released quite as much documentation as any other candidate has,” Sanders said, adding, “If you think I’m not in good health, come on out with me on the campaign trail and I’ll let you introduce me to the three or four rallies a day that we do.”

Pressed on whether he would release more information about his health, Sanders replied, “I don’t think we will, no.”

Bernie Sanders campaigning in Las Vegas on Tuesday. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

In October, however, Sanders told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that he would be releasing his medical records related to the heart attack and the implantation of two stents in a blocked artery.

“The people do have a right to know about the health of a senator, somebody who’s running for president of the United States — full disclosure,” Sanders said, pledging to release his full medical records. “But you know, the first concern that people had [was] to understand what was going on. Before we reveal information dribble by dribble.”

In a separate interview with ABC News, Sanders again pledged to release his full medical records “as soon as we can.”

Asked what the standard should be for presidential candidates when it comes to releasing such information, Sanders replied, “I think when you’re running for President of the United States the American people have a right to know the condition of your health. I think that is a standard that should be applicable to all candidates.”

In December, Sanders released three letters from doctors that proclaimed him to be in good health. Short on detail, the letters, like those released attesting to the health of President Trump, failed to satisfy those calling for more disclosure.

“I think we should be transparent, especially living in the Trump era,” Pete Buttigieg said in an interview with MSNBC. “We’ve got to do better. I would look to the Obama standard of releasing not just a letter from a doctor but actual results from a physical. That’s what we’re planning to do, and I think every candidate should hold themselves to that same standard.”

Buttigieg, who is 38, has yet to release his own medical records, and Sanders’s national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, took issue with the persistent questions about the senator’s health, likening them to doubts by some Republicans about the birthplace of former President Barack Obama.

“What you’re seeing right now is really reminiscent of the kind of smear, kind of skepticism campaigns that have been run against a lot of different candidates in the past, questioning where they’re from, aspects of their lineage, etcetera, etcetera,” Gray said in a Wednesday interview with CNN. “And it’s really telling, given that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who is the same age as Bernie Sanders, who has suffered heart attacks in the past.”

Bloomberg’s campaign quickly responded in a statement, saying Gray was “spreading an absolute lie that Mike had heart attacks.”

While Bloomberg, who is also 78, has received stents in relation to a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, he has never suffered a heart attack.

Gray then corrected herself on Twitter. “I misspoke when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack,” she wrote.

Of all the Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70, has been the most forthcoming regarding her medical records. In December, she made public the entire results of her most recent physical examination, rather than a doctor’s note summarizing them.

Bloomberg and Joe Biden, 77, have both released letters from physicians detailing medications prescribed for the candidates, vital signs and an overall assessment of health.


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