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January 9, 2018

Call a Doctor, Please

Harry M. Covert

I have to admit I’ve been to the White House many times. Remember, it’s not bragging if you can do it – or did it. Well, now!


Somehow invitations to Camp David apparently reached the wrong address. Electronic communications slipped through. On the QT, insiders reached out this past weekend, asking advice on media handling recommendations for professionals in the medical community.


Whoa. Wait a minute. Before getting hogtied into a majestic life battle, I told the professional leakers that I would not dare invade the professional experts at either Walter Reed Medical Center or the august St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the District of Columbia.


Amidst all the dilly dallying at Camp David in the Catoctin Mountains, I consented. I recommended the White House medical chief should inquire as to the availability of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi to examine the mental capacities of 45 instead of listening to the commentating crackpots without portfolios masquerading as medical giants.


I suggested Dr. Melfi, Tony Soprano’s cure-all, over Dr. Phil, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Dr. Howard Dean, or the verbose California wizard Maxine Waters.


The latest book writer has jumped into the mass of mental junkies with quotes and tales, not of derring-do but of imaginary interviews and quotes of hangers-on, who always seem to know more than the person or persons they advise or carry their bags.


The book business is interesting. Authors can write fiction and pass off silly embellishments as verity — that’s truth for those without google, WikiLeaks, or a paper dictionary.


History lovers always smile and grin at George Washington who reportedly never told a lie, or threw a silver dollar over the Potomac. He did keep records of his Revolutionary War financial escapades for the colonies. Reportage in those days wasn’t recorded in the Virginia Gazette, Thomas Paine or Poor Richard’s Almanac.


I’ve kept notes in memory and longhand. I could exaggerate with some detailed quotes and write about the wit and wisdom with the urbane, virtuous and luminaries who’ve toiled for the people. I’ll tell them true.


For example, I conferred with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the Blair House. It was a great world-changing interview. He smiled and said, “mazel tov.” I have a picture to prove it.


Then there was President Reagan in his typical brown suit. Another handshake and a grin. No comment. I went home and put on my $14.95 Ronald Reagan wristwatch.


A few days later the Brahmin George H. W. Bush greeted me in the Roosevelt Room. Smiled, of course, hand shake, pat on the back, and he said “Virginia’s a beautiful state and for lovers.” Then a photo. Eloquent for certain.


Then at a meeting for the vice president’s bid for the big job, a young off-spring sauntered into the room: “How the hell are you people?” So help me, it was George W. Bush, the former reserve jet pilot and later baseball owner.


Just one more. It was during a political rally in Alexandria, Va. William Jefferson Clinton escaped from his Secret Service guard dogs and ran through the halls of City Hall. He came upon me and several others, smiling with outstretched hands. “I’m Bill Clinton.” That was nice, so I introduced him to the sheriff’s wife. “Well, I’ll sure have to behave now.” He did and it’s an accurate quote. Finally, his protective detail showed up out of breath. Bill laughed and went outside to a wild welcome.


How times change. This sounds trite – and it is.


All the recent literary machinations about any mental shortages with Donald Trump may sell books. When authors and writers infuse truth with fiction merely to make a buck, there’s further evidence nothing is new under the sun.


Why use “go fund me?” when fibs, white lies and exaggerations work pretty good.


When the latest tome appeared this week, I recalled author Clifford Irving’s hoax autobiography of Howard Hughes. He spent federal prison time for such imagined writing.


The hit job on Mr. Trump won’t result in imprisonment for the writer. Fiction can be fun, but factual takes are better.


Who really believes the Father of the Country never prevaricated or tried to decipher what “is is?”


I ask here, what would Melania say if the fictional Dr. Melfi appeared in the White House clinic?


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