Trump denies ’mini-strokes’ after a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last year
President Trump denied having “a series of mini-strokes” Tuesday as he sought to respond to a bombshell new report that he was poised to hand over power to Vice President Mike Pence during a mysterious visit to Walter Reed Hospital last year
Exclaiming “It never ends!” the president asserted that he did not suffer the brain-injuring condition following reports that aides prepared to put Pence temporarily in charge of the nation as Trump faced possible general anesthesia.
“Never happened to THIS candidate – FAKE NEWS,” Trump tweeted.
Trump was responding to explosive excerpts of a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt that shed new light on the extraordinary measures taken during the still-unexplained trip to the hospital, CNN reported.
Curiously, the report never claims that Trump suffered a “mini-stroke” or any other specific medical condition.
“In the hours leading up to Trump’s trip to the hospital, word went out in the West Wing for the vice president to be on standby to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily if Trump had to undergo a procedure,” New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt writes in his forthcoming book, CNN reported Tuesday.
Schmidt does not name or even characterize the sources who revealed the bombshell claims.
The report dramatically revives the controversy over the extremely unusual trip to Walter Reed in November 2019, which Trump has never explained. Trump and White House officials have improbably asserted that the visit was part of a routine annual physical for the upcoming year 2020.
Trump was rushed to Walter Reed, the destination of choice for presidential medical treatment, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2019 without any of the usual notifications to hospital staff or media that would accompany a routine visit.
Schmidt says Pence was told to be ready to take the reins of office even as Trump asserted that he was undergoing nothing more than routine tests.
“Everything was good (great!),” the president tweeted hours after the visit.
Medical experts say the most likely medical incidents that would require Trump to visit a hospital would be issues related to heart or brain function, such as a stroke.
White House officials have denied any such health problems, but Trump and his spokespeople have lied thousands of times, limiting the credibility of their claims.
The move to hand over power to the vice president is a standard, if rarely invoked, measure when a president is likely to be incapacitated even for a short period of time.
In recent years, the move invoking the 25th Amendment was prepared in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on President Reagan. Power was twice temporarily handed over to Vice President Dick Cheney when President George W. Bush underwent colonoscopies.
In all those cases, the White House disclosed the measures publicly.
Trump, who is hypersensitive about his physical and mental health, has repeatedly pushed back against any claims that he is less than extremely healthy.
He once dictated a letter to his personal physician saying he was in perfect physical condition, the doctor later revealed.
The president fiercely lashed out at a report that he had difficulty lifting a glass of water and walking down a ramp during a July commencement ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.