Skip To Content

Why Is Donald Trump’s Doctor Talking About Hillary Clinton’s Health — or Tweeting in Italian?

Just when you thought Election 2016 couldn’t get weirder, Donald Trump’s Jewish doctor, who reassures us the nominee will be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” has a thing for Italian so intense, he delivered a speech in the language – at his son’s bar mitzvah.

And at least according to one account, almost no one in the room understood.

First let’s recap other relevant weirdness about Harold Bornstein’s describing the Republican presidential nominee’s health, issued last December.

It included typos (“To Whom My Concern”) and hyperbole unusual for letters from physicians: “Actually, his blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were astonishingly excellent.” Bornstein also described nothing but “positive results,” which in a letter from a doctor, is usually not a good thing.

Then, last week, Bornstein, who had resisted interviews, told NBC that he had dashed off the letter in five minutes, while Trump’s limo waited.

He also appeared to echo Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, is unhealthy. “I know her physician, and I know some of her health history, which is not so good,” the gastroenterologist told NBC.

Trump making the claim is risible – what would he know of Clinton’s health? (In a more conventional letter released last year, Clinton’s physician declared her fit.) Bornstein making the claim may be actionable. He should not be privy to Clinton’s health record, he should not be lying about it if he is not, and in any case, he should not be pronouncing on it without her permission.

One odd sidebar: When Trump’s campaign released the letter, they included Bornstein’s full personal contact information, which is itself unusual.

This weekend, Sam Levine at the Huffington Post reported that he used the email to contact Bornstein for an interview. In a bizarre exchange conducted in part in Italian, Bornstein – or someone – demanded cash upfront.

Levine declined, and wondered whether Bornstein’s email had been hacked – a screenshot from the NBC segment showed Bornstein’s computer still running on Windows XP, which is no longer securable.

Here’s what I stumbled on today: It probably was not hacked. Bornstein has had a Twitter account since 2013 – well before any of this broke – and his bio notes, in Italian, that he is fluent in the language.

There are only a handful of tweets, but one, from May 16 2014, is a flirtatious reply – in Italian – to Marina Carminati, a onetime NBC News producer, according to her Twitter bio.

Carminati, posing in an accompanying photogaph with Bronstein’s son, tweeted on April 26, “The only one who does his speech in Italian in the Synagogue for his son BarMizvah! #nobodycouldunderstand”

Bornstein replies a few weeks later, “The best and most beautiful Italian journalist. And my cool son.”

The obvious follow up to Bornstein – and I’d ask it, but we don’t pay for interviews either – is, what was in that speech?

@marucarmi la giornalista italiana piu’ brava e piu’ bella. E mio figlio figo

— Harold Bornstein (@hbornst1) May 16, 2014

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.