Our new president is a businessman with a head for numbers. He thinks in terms of ratings, and is displeased when he fails to receive sufficient acclaim for his impressive figures. Before taking office, he sued a reporter who’d written that he’d overestimated his net worth (by a lot) and habitually added ten phantom floors to the height of Trump Tower. This week he has insisted that millions of illegal voters robbed him of a victory in the popular vote. His new White House has spent considerable effort to prove the mediocre attendance at his inauguration ceremony was actually, to use one of his favorite terms, huge.
Which raises an important issue: Perhaps Donald Trump should receive his due as the fattest president to squeeze behind the desk in the Oval Office in more than a hundred years.
Ardent Trump supporters will object to this claim. “Fake news!” they will shout. “Mainstream media bias! Haven’t you seen the pictures of him golfing? He’s got a gut that makes John Daly look like Rory McElroy after a 30-day juice cleanse! Surely Donald Trump is the fattest president ever!”
To which the only reasonable response is, let’s look at the data. According to the results of a physical that Trump revealed on the Dr. Oz show, he is 6-foot-3 and weighs 236 pounds. This would give him a body mass index (BMI) of 29.5, just shy of the “obese” category. Politico, however, obtained a copy of Trump’s New York driver’s license, on which his height was reported as 6-foot-2. Conspiracy theorists will note the sudden mysterious growth spurt. Nevertheless, when the president is driving a motor vehicle, anyway, no one can deny that he is officially obese — no small achievement.
He is not, however, the fattest. William Howard Taft, who held the office from 1909–1913, was roughly Trump’s height but weighed somewhere in the 330- to 340-pound range; his BMI works out to well over 40. Taft supposedly once became stuck in his own bathtub. The second fattest, Grover Cleveland, outweighed Trump by 25 pounds and was three inches shorter. A lover of beer and sufferer of gout, Cleveland edged out Taft to be named the least healthy president of all time by Fitness Magazine. Let’s credit him with a BMI of 35. (Obama, for comparison, has a BMI of 22.1.)
These are early days, however, and President Trump is nothing if not a fierce competitor. His diet and exercise regimen are fine-tuned for someone with the drive to be the fattest commander-in-chief. Other than golf, he strenuously avoids physical activity; recent news reports noted that White House staffers feared being placed on a different floor than the president because it was extremely unlikely that he would ever use the stairs. His diet leans heavily on the four basic food groups of weight gain: McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and sweets.
What Taft possessed in adipose tissue he tragically lacked in cojones; at one point he adopted a healthier diet heavy on vegetables and lean proteins and lost sixty pounds. He was, to use one of our chief executive’s favorite words, a loser.
Mr. President, you are a man who has never thought small: Big Macs! Large fries! If Taft can hit 340 pounds, who’s to say a man with your hunger can’t reach 400? 500? The opportunity for greatness is in your not-at-all tiny hands, assuming they’re not grasping something deep-fried at the moment.
To paraphrase Harry Truman, the Dollar Menu stops here.