Currents News Staff
President Trump’s unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last November raises new and troubling questions about transparency from the White House.
In a forthcoming book, New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, not revealing his sources, says Vice President Pence was put on standby to temporarily assume the powers of the presidency, if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required anesthesia.
Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, wonders what the medical emergency was.
“It makes you wonder, what was that?” Sanjay says, “and is it going to lead to anything more down the road? He was only in the hospital for just over an hour, so we know it’s unlikely he was anesthetized. It’s unlikely he had a procedure done. But something that day got people really worried.”
Pence did not end up assuming the powers of the presidency that day. At the time of Trump’s Walter Reed visit, the White House called it “routine.”
A former White House physician, William Lang, served under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says there could be a straightforward explanation.
“Whenever the president travels, the job of the military unit and the medical unit is to make sure that all contingencies are covered,” William says, “so we don’t know what the details of this reported, ‘have the vice president on standby’. This may have just been the routine, ‘ok, the president is going to the hospital. Let’s make sure we’ve got all our standard-standard operating procedures in place.”
On Sept. 2, Trump tweeted “It never ends!”- and denied a suggestion from a fringe author, that he’d suffered a series of mini-strokes.
Trump’s White House physician, Sean Conley, also denied that, and in a statement said “the president remains healthy and I have no concerns about his ability to maintain the rigorous schedule ahead of him.”
But Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta says there remain too many unanswered questions over unusual occurrences surrounding that Walter Reed visit.
“They say this was a routine visit, but nothing about this visit was routine: on a Saturday, unannounced, doctors in the car with him,” Sanjay says. “They say it had nothing to do with the brain or the heart. But frankly, most routine things can otherwise be taken care of at the White House. So this doesn’t make sense.”
There have been other attention-grabbing moments. On two separate occasions, President Trump had to steady one hand with the other while drinking water during speeches.
He seemingly walked hesitantly down a ramp at West Point this summer, steadying his feet at every step.
He made an unfounded claim at the time – that the ramp was slippery and he didn’t want to fall in front of the “fake news”.
“This was a steel ramp, it had no handrail,” President Trump says, “it was like an ice skating rink.”
Through all of it, the president and his doctors have repeatedly contended that he’s healthy. But NYU Langone Medical Ethicist Arthur Caplan is concerned about the secrecy.
“My worry is, we have an election between Trump and Biden, and Trump somehow in the middle of this becomes incapacitated, but covers it up, doesn’t let us know that the person we are going to vote for may become increasingly disabled during a second term,” Arthur says.