Will Trump's First Presidential Physical Evaluate His Mental Health?

President Donald Trump will undergo his first physical on Friday. Getty

President Donald Trump will undergo his first presidential physical exam on Friday as questions surrounding his mental health swirl. However, the White House has been tight-lipped as to whether the checkup will assess his mental acuity.

Trump will be examined by his military physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 12, the White House announced last month. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has refused to say if this will include an examination of the president's mental health, and instead deflected an inquiry last week by telling reporters they will be provided details of the checkup afterward.

The routine examination comes amongst fierce debate by experts about Trump's mental health following several erratic tweets and the publishing of a new book leveling claims by his own advisers questioning his mental stability.

After Trump fired off a tweet boasting about the size of his nuclear button in comparison to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a former White House ethics lawyer called it proof that the president is "psychologically unfit" and should be removed from office.

This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes. https://t.co/ymWija85o3

— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) January 3, 2018

"This Tweet alone is grounds for removal from office under the 25th Amendment. This man should not have nukes," tweeted Richard Painter, who served as an ethics attorney under George W. Bush.

Concerns about Trump's mental fitness have extended to Congress, where a dozen members invited a Yale psychiatrist to meet with them about Trump's mental health last month.

But some mental health professionals have sharply criticized those making claims about the president's psychological stability, citing the so-called Goldwater rule of the American Psychiatric Association banning doctors from making assessments about anyone they have not examined themselves. This rule was instituted as a response to a magazine article in which experts questioned 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's fitness for office.

Past presidents have been known to experience mental health issues—Abraham Lincoln reportedly suffered from depression, John F. Kennedy took anxiety medication, Richard Nixon took Valium, and Lyndon B. Johnson's aides were said to have enlisted three psychiatrists who reported that he could have been experiencing paranoid disintegration.

Ronald Reagan's aides were also worried about his mental health during his final years in office and discussed whether to invoke the 25th Amendment.

But Trump has repeatedly defended his mental state, firing off a tweet on Saturday declaring "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart."

Friday's examination will mark the first time that the public will get an unbiased picture of the 71-year-old leader's health. Last year, Trump received a clean bill from his personal physician, who said he could "state unequivocally" he would "be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

This, of course, was a puzzling assessment of the health of a man who is known to live on a McDonald's heavy diet.