The New York Times Company
LAS VEGAS — Ahead of a crucial Democratic debate Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is facing new pressure to release his full medical records, more than four months after he had a heart attack while campaigning and vowed he would provide “comprehensive” records on his health.
When asked during a CNN town hall Tuesday night if he would release more medical records, Sanders, 78, responded, “I don’t think we will, no.” He said what he had already disclosed about his health was in line with what other candidates had done.
A campaign spokeswoman, facing questions on CNN on Wednesday morning about whether Sanders would release his medical records, claimed without evidence that Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, had “suffered heart attacks in the past.” Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, likened the calls for Sanders to disclose more information on his health to a smear campaign.
In response, Bloomberg’s campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, accused Sanders’ campaign of “spreading an absolute lie that Mike had heart attacks,” calling Gray’s remarks “completely false.”
Sanders’ health has been under scrutiny since early October, when he experienced chest pains during a campaign event in Las Vegas and had two stents inserted into an artery. His campaign did not reveal that he had suffered a heart attack until three days later, after he was released from the hospital.
In December, Sanders’ campaign released three letters from doctors declaring him healthy. One of the letters, dated Dec. 28 and signed by Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, characterized Sanders as “in good health currently.”
Sanders had said in October as he was recovering from his heart attack that he would release his medical records by the end of the year, saying they would be “comprehensive.” Letters from doctors are not the same as full medical records.
His campaign has tried to brush off criticism about Sanders’ decision not to release his full medical records by comparing what he has released to what other candidates have done.
Shortly after making her comments, Gray walked them back.
Sheekey said Bloomberg had had two coronary stents placed in 2000, after a positive stress test at his doctor’s office.