On Friday, Donald Trump received his first physical exam as president. On Tuesday, his doctor, Ronny Jackson—who also served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama—did his best to reassure the White House press pool, the rest of the country, and the world that the president is the picture of mental and physical health.
Physical examinations: No fun! So boring! Rather than undergoing a monotony of blood and pee tests, I have an exciting alternative option for the president: compete in the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.
If you went to public school in the United States between 1966 and 2012, you should know what I’m talking about. Each spring, your gym teacher would pull out the ol’ clipboard and announce it was time to compete for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, created to honor the most boneheaded jocks in your class and humiliate everyone else.
Then the tests would begin: the pull-up (for boys); the flexed-arm hang (for girls); the standing broad jump; the sit-and-reach (aka the Dreaded Box Test); and of course, the beep test, also known as the pacer test, also known as the shuttle run.
I blacked out any memory of doing the beep test along with every other memory of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, but my Splinter colleague Clio Chang helpfully “jogged” my memory:
Emma Roller [10:39 AM]
what was the beep test????
clio chang [10:39 AM]
u remember this?
it’s like you have to run to the other side of the gym
before the beep
and the intervals between the beeps get shorter
Emma Roller [10:40 AM]
clio chang [10:48 AM]
its so cruel
they make kids do this
and not the president
Sadly for the jocks and happily for the rest of us, the fitness program was phased out in 2012. But there’s no reason the president can’t still compete in it—after all, the challenge is named after him! Besides, after subjecting the nation’s nerds, losers, burnouts, and freaks to annual humiliation, I’d argue it’s only fair for the president pay us back by taking the challenge himself.
Here are some facts about the president’s well-being: Donald J. Trump is 71 years old. He is six-foot-three and weighs 239 pounds—putting him one pound shy of the official cutoff for obesity—according to his doctor’s report on Tuesday. He doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. He reportedly drinks a dozen Diet Cokes a day, ordered using a button on his desk. He reportedly prefers eating fast food over made-to-order meals because of his “longtime fear of being poisoned”—although he is reportedly now working on his diet with a nutritionist. His regular McDonald’s order is “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.” There are longtime rumors that he takes cheap speed for energy. Trump admits he is “not a big sleeper,” resting somewhere between three and five hours of sleep a night. He loves golf but is skeptical of exercise, and subscribes to the bizarre theory “that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”
Despite his distaste for exercise, the president has touted his past athletic prowess:
And then there’s this interview with author Michael D’Antonio for his 2016 book, The Truth About Trump (emphasis mine):
All types of fights. Any kind of fight, I loved it, including physical. And I was always the best athlete. Something that nobody knew about me ... I was the best baseball player in New York when I was young ... Everybody wanted me to be a baseball player. But I was good in other sports too. I was good in wrestling, I was very good at football. I was always the best at sports.
Great! Surely some of that raw, natural talent must remain. He’s been saving up all that energy, like the Energizer Bunny, for this moment. Why not prove once and for all, to all the haters and losers in the White House press pool, that you’re as fit as you say you are? (The most fit president of all time, some might say?)
Mr. President, please think of the trauma you have inflicted on the nation’s proto-bloggers with your physical fitness test. Consider this heart-wrenching tale from my Splinter colleague Molly Osberg:
i tried to do a pull-up and i couldnt
and then at the end of the three-whatever days we did it during gym class, they called everyone up to give them their prizes
I was last
“molly osberg ...... participation!”
Mr. President, you know what you must do to right the scales of justice. Don your best gray sweatpants. Stride into the White House gym with pride. Take the challenge that was named for you.
Best case scenario: You’ll look so good doing pull-ups, doing the broad jump, and scurrying back and forth from one side of the gym to the other in increasing intervals that your critics will be silenced forever.
Worst case scenario: Hey, you’ll still get that participation trophy!
What was your least favorite event in the Presidential Physical Fitness Award challenge? Sound off in the comments!