Trump turns 'very routine' physical into attack on media

WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out at the media during a Tuesday afternoon Cabinet meeting over reporting about his sudden trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last weekend.

The White House said the visit was part of a regular physical exam.

“These people are sick. They are sick,” Trump said of the media, according to a pool report. “The press really in this country is dangerous. We don’t have freedom of the press in this country. We have the opposite. We have a very corrupt media. And I hope they can get their act straightened out. Because it’s very, very bad and very, very dangerous.”

Speculation arose on Saturday shortly after news of the president’s visit broke, with CNN reporting that Trump’s appointment was a break from protocol during past administrations. Typically, presidential physicals are scheduled and announced in advance and the hospital’s medical staff alerted. Trump’s last physical, also at Walter Reed, was in February, less than a year ago. The White House said the impromptu checkup was done on a day when he had nothing else on his schedule and in anticipation of “a very busy 2020.”

“I went for a physical. I came back, and my wife said, ‘Darling, are you OK? ... They are reporting you may have had a heart attack.’ I said, ‘Why did I have a heart attack?’ ‘Because you went to Walter Reed Medical Center.’ That’s where we go when we get the physical. I said I was only there for a very short period of time,” Trump told reporters.

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in Washington. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)
President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

Mainstream media outlets reported the circumstances of Trump’s visit, and rumors and speculation circulated on Twitter, but it’s not clear what “reporting” the president or first lady were referring to.

Trump said he underwent a “very routine” physical and visited injured members of the military and their families who had been admitted to Walter Reed.

The visit was kept off his public schedule due to what the White House called “scheduling uncertainties.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement saying that all Trump had was “a quick exam and labs.”

“The President remains healthy and energetic without complaints, as demonstrated by his repeated vigorous rally performances in front of thousands of Americans several times a week,” she said.

In light of the continued speculation regarding the president’s health, his White House physician, Sean Conley, DO, wrote a memorandum detailing Trump’s visit, describing it as a “routine, planned interim checkup.”

“Despite some of the speculation, the President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,” Conley wrote. “Specifically, he did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.”

Conley went on to say that he plans to continue to monitor Trump’s health and will conduct a “more comprehensive examination” in 2020.


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