Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whose campaign was sidelined last fall when he suffered a heart attack, says he won't release his full medical records -- going back on a promise he made four months ago.
At a town hall event in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night, Sanders said he doesn't intend to publicize any more of his health records -- adding that he has so far released more than any other Democratic candidate.
"I think we have released a detailed medical report and I'm comfortable on what we have done," he said. When asked if he will release more, he added, "I don't think we will, no."
Sanders, who will be 79 by election day, was hospitalized on Oct. 1 after leaving a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas with chest pains. Doctors said he had a heart attack and Sanders remained in a hospital for several days, effectively suspending major campaign activity in the interim.
The Vermont senator released three letters from physicians in December that described him as being in good health.
His refusal is an about-face from his position last October, when he said American voters "have a right to know about the health of a senator, somebody who's running for president of the United States -- full disclosure."
Most candidates for president traditionally offer transparency with their health and finances. President Donald Trump is still criticized for never releasing his federal tax returns before or after his 2016 election.
If he's elected, Sanders would be, by far, the oldest candidate to win the presidency. Trump is presently the oldest, as he was 70 when he won the White House in 2016. In fact, no U.S. president has ever occupied the White House at any time at Sanders' age. The eldest, Ronald Reagan, ended his presidency at age 77.
One of the doctors who gave Sanders a clean bill of health in December was Capitol Hill physician Brian Monahan.
"You are in good health currently and you have been engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel, and other scheduled activities without any limitation," Monahan wrote in his letter. "Several of the medications you initially required were stopped based on your progress.
Sanders spokeswoman Briahna Gray said Wednesday criticisms over the issue are part of a "smear" campaign, and said candidate Michael Bloomberg is the same age and has also suffered cardiac trouble -- a claim Bloomberg's campaign quickly denounced as an "absolute lie" and "completely false."
"Mike Bloomberg has never had a heart attack," Bloomberg adviser adviser Tim O'Brien said. "Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has had a heart attack. Those are the facts. It's a dangerous time when Sanders goes all in with Trumpism."
Gray later said she misspoke.
"Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie," she said.