Donald Trump’s former doctor has said he hid cauliflower in mashed potato and tried to make ice cream “less accessible” to the president in a failed attempt to make him lose weight.
Dr Ronny Jackson, the former chief medical advisor to Mr Trump, hoped to help the president lose between 10 and 15 pounds in 2018 and planned to introduce an exercise bike or elliptical machine to the White House.
However, his efforts were in vain as Mr Trump was found to have gained four pounds, tipping him over into the obese category, at his last public medical examination in February 2019.
“The exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to,” Mr Jackson admitted in an interview with The New York Times published on Monday evening.
“But we were working on his diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”
Mr Jackson rose to national attention in January 2018 when he gave a glowing review of Mr Trump’s health, despite the president’s well-known love of fast food, at a White House press conference.
“You know, I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old,” the doctor told reporters.
“He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”
Following those comments, Mr Jackson became part of Mr Trump’s favoured inner circle at the White House and was even picked to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He later withdrew himself from consideration for the position after he was accused of misconduct, including being drunk at work and allegedly giving out Ambien, Provigil and other prescription drugs “like they were candy” – allegations that he said were “completely false and fabricated”.
“That was the day I got the Trump stamp on me completely,” Mr Jackson told the Times, referring to the 2018 press conference.
“I was no longer viewed as a nonpartisan physician on military orders, even though I still technically was.”
The former White House doctor is now running to be the Republican candidate in Texas’ 13th congressional district, one of the most conservative in the US, where the Republican nomination all but guarantees a place in Congress.
Mr Jackson is hoping his links to the Trump administration will be enough to defeat two powerful opponents – Chris Ekstrom, a Dallas millionaire who is self-funding his campaign, and Josh Winegarner, a lobbyist with the backing of the cattle industry and outgoing Republican representative Mac Thornberry.