For Trump, the Only Medical News Is Good Medical News

The White House said at the time that Mr. Trump was simply undergoing a series of “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical exam because he was anticipating a “very busy 2020.” Mr. Trump never completed that physical.

Much like the release of a president’s tax returns, releasing the results of an annual physical is a custom, not a legal requirement. (The White House physician’s responsibilities, meanwhile, are to the patient, not the public.) Presidents are not required to tell the public anything about their annual physical exam, or the status or history of their health, although all modern presidents since Richard M. Nixon have chosen to give out some information.

Dr. Conley’s predecessor in the job, Dr. Jackson, had served under the past three presidents. But Dr. Jackson, a retired Navy rear admiral who is now a Republican candidate for Congress in Texas and endorsed by the president, seemed particularly eager to please Mr. Trump.

At a news conference in January 2018, Dr. Jackson said that Mr. Trump was in great health, citing his “incredible genes,” and his assessment that he had done “exceedingly well” on a cognitive test and was “mentally very, very sharp.” He