President Donald Trump was on the defensive on Tuesday morning, September 1, after a number of hashtags started trending on Twitter alleging the 74-year-old had suffered either a “cerebral event” or “series of mini-strokes,” prompting emergency visits to Walter Reed Medical Center in November 2019 and earlier this month.
Donald Trump v. the United States, a forthcoming book by New York Times White House correspondent Michael Schmidt, claims that in November 2019, Vice President Mike Pence was placed on standby to take over for Trump if the president had to go under anesthesia during the 2019 Walter Reed trip, the Times reported in an advance review of the book.
A number of users seized on Schmidt’s reporting, as well as an earlier tweet in August by author Don Winslow, in which he claimed that three “whistleblowers” told him Trump had suffered a series of “mini-strokes” during his presidency.
Trump called the rumors “fake news” and tried to deflect the concern onto his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump’s November 2019 Trip to Walter Reed Remains a ‘Deep Mystery,’ According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta & Many Speculated That It Was Related to a Stroke or ‘Mini-Stroke’
In mid-November 2019, Trump made an unscheduled weekend trip to Walter Reed Medical Center. The White House responded to press inquiries at the time by saying that Trump had underwent normal lab work and completed a portion of his annual physical, CNN reported.
The irregular visit sparked questions about Trump’s health, however. White House Physician Sean Conley tried to quell rumors in a statement insisting that the president had no chest paint or any “urgent or acute issues,” the Washington Post reported.
Conley also specified that Trump “did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations,” the Post reported.
Don Winslow, author of The Cartel series and a prominent Trump critic, said on August 1 that he had “three whistleblowers” inside the White House claiming that Trump had suffered “mini-strokes,” including in a Tweet a now-infamous clip of Trump slurring the phrase “United States” at an event.
And earlier this August, speculation again raged that Trump had made another visit to the hospital for a “cerebral event,” based on a photo showing Trump with an apparent bruise on his hand.
On Monday, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta claimed that the 2019 Walter Reed visit had “always been a really deep mystery,” following the claims in Schmidt’s book.
“There are a lot of things about this trip that have never made sense, and it’s challenging as a medical reporter,” Gupta said. “Obviously, people are entitled to their privacy and protections against sharing medical information, but this has never made sense.”
Gupta claimed that the visit was unannounced, which “never happens,” and that much of the Walter Reed staff did not know Trump was coming. “We still don’t know what this was all about,” he said.
Trump Did Little to Quell Questions Tuesday With a Tweet Declaring the Rumors ‘Fake News’ & Deflecting Concern Onto Joe Biden
Schmidt’s book, according to his Times colleague Maggie Haberman, does not at any point claim that the cause of Trump’s 2019 Walter Reed visit was a “series of mini-strokes.”
And so, when Trump logged on Tuesday morning to strongly deny that he had experienced the mini-strokes, many on Twitter — including Winsow — found the denial oddly specific.
“It never ends!” Trump tweeted. “Now they are trying to say that your favorite President, me, went to Walter Reed Medical Center, having suffered a series of mini-strokes. Never happened to this candidate — fake news. Perhaps they are referring to another candidate from another Party!”
Winslow said, “Nothing to see here,” and followed that statement with another tweet claiming that “more than a dozen Secret Service agents are aware of Donald Trump’s medical condition and mini-strokes.”
Comedian and podcaster Patrick Monahan quote-tweeted Trump with a variation on a popular Twitter meme, saying, “My ‘I did not go to Walter Reed Medical Center, having suffered a series of mini-strokes’ T-shirt, etc.”
Conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report also shocked many online Tuesday afternoon when the featured story on its homepage highlighted Trump’s denial of the mini-strokes and linked to CNN video from earlier this summer that appeared to show the president dragging his right leg while walking.
Heavy reached out to the White House for comment, but had not heard back as of Tuesday afternoon.
The White House Physician, Sean Conley, Issued a Statement Denying Trump Had Been Treated for a Stroke
At Trump’s request, Conley issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, insisting that Trump had not experienced or been treated for a stroke, Axios reported.
President Donald J, Trump has asked that I, Dr. Sean Conley, Physician to the President, address the recent public comments regarding his health. I can confirm that President Trump has not experienced nor been evaluated for a cerebrovascular accident (stroke), transient ischemic attack (mini stroke), or any acute cardiovascular emergencies, as have been incorrectly reported in the media.
The President remains healthy and I have no concerns about his ability to maintain the rigorous schedule ahead of him. As stated in my last report, I expect him to remain fit to execute the duties of the Presidency.