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Hidden Histories of Presidential Medical Dramas

There’s a long history of presidential ailments, including George Washington’s near-death encounter with the flu, Grover Cleveland’s secret tumor, and the clandestine suffering of John F. Kennedy.

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There has been nothing in American history quite like the President of the United States being infected with a potentially deadly virus amid a global pandemic less than a month before Election Day. But President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is part of a long history of White House medical dramas.

Lincoln's Great Depression

Joshua Wolf Shenk
The Atlantic

Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a “character issue”—that is, as a political liability. His condition was indeed a character issue: it gave him the tools to save the nation.