On Tuesday afternoon, White House doctor Ronny Jackson took to the press briefing podium to discuss the results of President Trump's first official physical. He stated that the president is in excellent health for a man who's six-foot-three and 239 pounds. And nobody believes him.
So implausible seemed those stats about Trump's weight — considering that the president does not believe in exercise, subsists on a diet of McDonald's, KFC and 12 Diet Cokes a day, and, well, just looks a lot fatter — that Jackson's press conference immediately gave birth to a fact-finding mission and many people wondering, how much does Donald Trump weigh?
The Girther Movement, coined as a Twitter joke by MSNBC's Chris Hayes, became a kind-of-real thing, flooding social media with historical evidence and celebrity weight comparisons in an attempt to get at Trump's real poundage.
Has anyone coined "girther" for those who belive the president weighs more than his doctor reports?— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 16, 2018
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The "Daily Beast"'s Marlow Stern got there early, pointing out that Obama was said to be six-foot-one and seemed taller than Trump:
Although Obama is listed at 6'1" and appears to be a bit taller than Trump. pic.twitter.com/wjyzXjEQnd— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) January 17, 2018
How much does Donald Trump weigh?
The president's height attracted particular scrutiny because 239 pounds is one pound under officially obese for a man who's six-foot-three. Others pointed out that Trump's height was previously given as six-foot-two in biographical information, and it is common for humans to lose some height as they age. (Trump is 71.)
For the record, @realDonaldTrump said he was 74 inches in 2012. Now his doctor says he's 75 inches. And that one inch makes is BMI "overweight" not "obese." I'm a #girther because old men don't GROW an inch! pic.twitter.com/ehNxF9PjPL— Gersh Kuntzman (@GershKuntzman) January 16, 2018
The movement built as "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn offered Trump $100,000 if he would step on a scale for the world to see.
— VBoDC (@VBoDC) January 17, 2018
We want an ACCURATE weight. pic.twitter.com/vmp9QyjVxy
Others just had fun with it.
I'm a proud girther. The people I've sent to his read his bathroom scale can't believe what they're finding. https://t.co/iJU70EKPob— Matt Manzella (@MatManz) January 16, 2018
The movement, of course, gets its name from the BS conspiracy theory that launched Trump's political career: His insistence that former President Obama was born in Kenya and not eligible for the office gave rise to the "birthers".
How much does Trump weigh? Is it about muscle versus fat?
But pictures don't lie. Or do they? Some on social media argued that the comparisons to celebrity athletes don't hold water because muscle weighs more than fat. So assuming that Trump has much less lean muscle, he could have more girth than Tom Brady but still be 239 pounds.
That's up for debate. Health publications like "Everyday Health" and "Prevention" point out that muscle doesn't actually weigh more than fat: A pound is a pound is a pound.
One pound of fat does occupy more volume than muscle. But that doesn't necessarily get Trump and Johnson off the hook. Witness Liam Hemsworth, who lacks both muscle and fat and is 220 pounds at six-foot-three:
There is also a volume-to-volume comparison of Trump and the girthiest president, William Howard Taft, who was 340 pounds at five-foot-eleven:
President Taft was 5' 11" 340 lbs— LIBERAL LOCOMOTIVE (@BDamatin) January 17, 2018
President Trump is 6' 3" 240 lbs
Really ? pic.twitter.com/LZZjsh1N9T
What's clear is that the matter won't be resolved to the internet's satisfaction anytime soon. As facts go: At yesterday's given weight, Trump has displaced Bill Clinton as the third-heaviest U.S. president of all time, behind Warren Harding (240 pounds) and Taft.