- Trump has lost 15 pounds since his presidency ended January 20, an advisor tells Insider.
- Current and former Trump advisors who have seen him recently say he’s eating better and exercising more.
- Trump has been famously sensitive about health, even forging a doctor’s note proclaiming him to be in ‘extraordinary’ shape.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The spray-tan is gone, and the suntan is on. The bleached highlights are out, and the gray is growing in.
Some of former President Donald Trump’s extra weight is off, too, thanks to better eating habits and a near-religious regimen of daily golf in the Florida sunshine.
“He has lost 15 pounds since he left the White House,” said one Trump advisor who spoke with the former president about his health recently.
The advisor added: “The secret to his success is a little bit of golf and a whole lot of endorsements” — a reference to the Trump stamps of political approval the former president has recently issued a string of supportive Republicans.
Other advisors who have met recently with Donald Trump tell Insider the former president looks happier, healthier, and even svelte — relatively speaking — since leaving Washington in January under the cloud of a second impeachment trial.
“He was eating all those M&Ms on [Air Force One] all the time,” said one Trump advisor who’s watched him trim up since leaving Washington. “He’s a big man with a big frame, and he’s lost a lot of weight. I can’t tell you how much, but it’s a lot. You can see it in his suits.”
A former advisor, who met with Trump last week during a spate of dinner meetings and fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, said Trump looked like he had dropped 20 pounds.
“When I saw him, he looked healthier and in better physical condition than I had seen him in a long time,” said a third advisor who visited Trump recently.
A slimmer Trump has Republicans wondering if the former president is already plotting a serious run for the White House again in 2024 — something he and his advisors continue mull, with little impetus to make a firm decision before the 2022 elections.
“I think there’s an extra 10- to 15-percent chance he runs (for president in 2024) if he lost 20 pounds,” one veteran Republican strategist told Insider.
None of the advisors or Republican strategists who spoke with Insider for this story said that Trump had surgery or other special weight-loss procedures to drop the weight. They attributed it to the golf, regular meals, and Florida sunshine. (The Trump advisors did not say, to a pound, how much Trump currently weighs.)
‘Weight of the free world’
Trump has closely guarded details about his health for years.
He routinely projected strength and vitality as a businessman and entertainer, even grappling on the ground with Vince McMahon — the husband of his future Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon — during a World Wrestling Entertainment show in 2007. He’s also harbored unconventional views about exercise.
Even as Trump and his former physicians promised he was a paragon of health, Trump’s own aides detailed a junk-food diet that would give most anyone the dreaded COVID 15.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, his aides rushed to grocery stores to pick up Oreos, Diet Cokes, and other junk food. As he lived the campaign life, he packed on the pounds like many others veterans of presidential slogs.
But the official word from Trump’s doctors was that he remained in peak physical condition.
In 2016, Trump’s former physician, Harold Bornstein, drafted a doctor’s note attesting to Trump’s “extraordinary” physical condition. The note sounded very un-physician like, and two years later, Bornstein admitted that Trump dictated the note to him — and that he falsely claimed it as his own.
In January 2018, then-White House physician Ronny Jackson delivered a positively glowing assessment of Trump’s health. A few months later, Trump nominated Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. And when Jackson ran for Congress last year, Trump supported his bid.
Trump has stoked fears about his health before. His halting walk down a ramp last June and his awkwardness taking drinks of water led to extensive questions of his health in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also led reporters and others to recall the many unsubstantiated attacks Trump launched against his 2016 presidential opponents, such as mocking Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for drinking water awkwardly and insinuating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was hiding a disease or ailment.
And after playing with fire throughout the pandemic, such attending campaign events with few safety protocols and turning the White House itself into a coronavirus hotspot, Trump eventually caught the coronavirus himself.
Trump was hospitalized and almost placed on a ventilator, despite assurances his symptoms were mild.
Trump left Washington just three months ago under a truly historic cloud of darkness.
His January 6 rally, during which he pushed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him, spurred many of his supporters there to attack the US Capitol while members of Congress certified electoral votes that declared Democrat Joe Biden president.
On January 20, Trump left Washington at a sparsely-attended and decidedly low-energy ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.
But if there was a silver lining for Trump, leaving Washington gave him some rest and something close to normalcy.
Trump has been golfing even more than when he was president, a stark tally that the Washington Post counted as 261 rounds played over his four years in office.
Trump’s sense of humor, meanwhile, has emerged in a way that was rarely present in the White House, advisors told Insider.
Advisors also say Trump’s forced departure from Twitter and Facebook, immediately after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, has eased his mind and curbed his middle-of-the-night tweet rages.
“The president is feeling great, Mar-a-Lago guests frequently comment about how good he’s looking over these last couple of months, and he feels great as well,” said the advisor who spoke with Trump recently about his health. “I think there’s something to be said about no longer having the weight of the free world on your shoulders.”