The Corner

Politics & Policy

Pelosi Goes Low on Fat

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that President Trump is “morbidly obese.” Madeleine Kearns discusses the resulting controversy on NRO. I think she’s ignoring two key points. First, Pelosi is wrong. “Morbid” obesity is not defined by the CDC, as Kearns notes, but when it is used in the literature (e.g., here) it tends to be associated with a body mass index well in excess of anything plausibly attributed to Trump.

Second, Pelosi’s intent was obviously to ridicule the president for his girth — and not, for example, “to state the facts” (which, again, she didn’t do). It was malicious, just as similar comments from Trump have been.

I can’t believe that Kearns wishes to defend making fun of people for their weight as a means of maintaining the “certain amount of stigma” about obesity that she considers healthful. Whether or not she does, I don’t think that stigma is in any danger of shrinking away to nothing.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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