Both Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence denied a recent report that the president visited the hospital last year after a series of suspected mini-strokes and that the vice president was standing by to resume his duties.
Hospital Trip Sparks Skepticism
The reports center around the president’s hastily arranged trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. The hospital visit took place in November of last year.
Trump’s team said the visit was routine. They also mentioned that Trump was simply making sure he was healthy before the election season began. The media met this explanation with skepticism, and they argued that it doesn’t line up with certain facts. The president’s official schedule did not include the visit, and the press did not have permission to follow his movements.
Conspiratorial reporting began from the moment the hospital visit took place. CNN reported that medical staff at the hospital weren’t notified of his arrival before that day, which is unusual for a presidential visit.
Report: ‘Mini-Strokes’, Mike Pence on Standby
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 1, 2020
The new story, which CNN broke this week, alleges that this visit was not routine at all. It was allegedly spurred by a series of ‘mini-strokes’, which Trump’s team thought would render him incapable of continuing as president. As he was rushed to the hospital, the story then goes, Mike Pence was preparing to “take over”.
The story was obtained from Michael Schmidt, a New York Times reporter. He simply says “he learned” of these events without specifying a source. In an upcoming book on Trump’s presidency, Schmidt writes, “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 that would have required him to be anesthetized.”
All relevant parties have denied that version of events. These include Mike Pence and Donald Trump. Trump’s physician Sean Conley also denied it.
In a statement, Dr. Conley said, “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.”
Mike Pence also said that there was nothing to the story. In a Fox News interview with Bret Bair, Pence said, “I’m always informed of the President’s movements — whether it was on that day or any other day, I’m informed. But there was no, there was nothing out of the ordinary about that moment or that day.”
He also said he “didn’t recall” being on standby to take over, though he said that “part of this job is you’re always on standby, you’re vice president of the United States.”
Finally, Donald Trump himself responded with vigorous denial, tweeting, “It never ends! 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!”
The unified denial from all relevant personnel, including Trump, Pence, and the presidential physician, seems to fully disprove the story that the hospital visit related to a series of suspected strokes. The story’s release by an anti-Trump reporter, with the election just 10 weeks away, warrants additional skepticism. For now, this sensational story appears to be debunked.
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