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US News Trump’s health under scrutiny again after unplanned visit to Walter Reed

04:40  19 november  2019
04:40  19 november  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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President Trump ’ s impromptu weekend visit to a doctor brought fresh questions about the status of his health after the White House released a memo late Monday Trump , 73, made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday, a visit that remained

President Trump ’ s impromptu weekend visit to a doctor remained shrouded in secrecy Monday as he stayed away from the public eye and the White House dodged questions about his health . Trump , 73, made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md

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President Trump’s impromptu weekend visit to a doctor remained shrouded in secrecy Monday as he stayed away from the public eye and the White House dodged questions about his health.

Trump, 73, made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday, later saying on Twitter that he had begun “phase one” of his annual physical exam and that the results had been “very good.”

It is unusual for a president to do a physical exam in multiple stages months apart, and the circumstances surrounding Trump’s visit renewed questions about the status of his health and the White House’s handling of his medical information, according to several experts.

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Trump , 73, made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Saturday, a visit that remained shrouded in secrecy for two days as Trump stayed away from the public eye and the White House dodged questions about his health .

There are other reasons Trump ' s visit to Walter Reed was out of the ordinary. Previous presidents have also faced scrutiny for a lack of transparency about their health . President Grover Cleveland secretly had surgery on a yacht in New York to remove a tumor from his mouth, and Franklin Delano

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: President Trump reaches for the microphone during a health-care event at the White House Friday. © Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post President Trump reaches for the microphone during a health-care event at the White House Friday.

The White House would not say Monday whether Trump planned to release records from his visit or describe which tests he took.

In a statement Saturday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that Trump had undergone a “quick exam and labs” and that he “remains healthy and energetic without complaints.” Grisham also said Trump had taken advantage of a “free weekend” in Washington to “begin portions of his routine annual physical exam.”

The White House did not respond to requests for more information Monday.

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  Opinions | We need a second opinion on the president’s health The oldest president in U.S. history claims the purpose of his two-hour medical visit, which was not on his public schedule, was to conduct “phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.” Phase one? What does that entail? Has anyone else ever taken a routine physical in installments spread out over months? Has he signed up for some kind of quirky flexible spending plan with his insurance? There is, of course, a long history of presidents being less than honest with the country about the state of their health.

President Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed , sparking questions about his health . In 1893, Grover Cleveland had a cancerous tumor and part of his jaw removed without telling the public. Trump ’ s health under scrutiny again after unplanned visit to Walter Reed .

Scrutiny of a president' s health is always intense, and Trump has generally appeared vigorous for his age. Speculation had been fueled last November, when Trump made an unscheduled and secretive visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Two people who interacted with Trump late last week said that he seemed to be hoarse and have signs of a cold but that nothing serious seemed amiss.

Trump’s voice was occasionally subdued and raspy during a news conference Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But Trump also spoke for more than an hour Thursday at a political rally, the latest in a string of campaign events that the White House has pointed to as signs of his energy and vigor.

On Monday, he remained out of public view, holding his meetings behind closed doors. He met with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell inside the White House residence rather than the Oval Office, according to a White House official familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump looks at then-White House physician Ronny Jackson during a Veterans Affairs Department event in August 2017. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump looks at then-White House physician Ronny Jackson during a Veterans Affairs Department event in August 2017.

A common cold would normally not be enough to prompt a visit to Walter Reed because the White House has adequate equipment and facilities to treat most minor illnesses and conduct routine tests. More comprehensive testing can be performed at Walter Reed.

The White House Medical Unit has the ability to perform many medical procedures on-site, including most that can be done in outpatient settings, said Jennifer Peña, a doctor who served as Vice President Pence’s physician until May 2018.

“The most informative question to ask about the current situation is: What is available at Walter Reed that is not available in the West Wing medical unit?” said John Sotos, a cardiologist who has studied the health records of previous presidents.

a sign on the side of a building: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center shown on Saturday as President Trump visited for what officials said was a physical exam. © Stefani Reynolds/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock Walter Reed National Military Medical Center shown on Saturday as President Trump visited for what officials said was a physical exam.

Several medical experts have questioned why Trump would begin his annual physical in November, just nine months after his last exam, and not complete it until 2020. Leaving a months-long gap between beginning and completing the exam is unusual and potentially counterproductive, said Sotos, who has served as a physician for the Air National Guard.

“When they complete the physical in six months, the information they got on Saturday would be six months old,” he said. “I haven’t seen such a thing by presidents in the recent past.”

There are other reasons Trump’s visit to Walter Reed was out of the ordinary.

Bethesda, MD, USA - July 19, 2017: An entrance to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the top military medical center in the United States. Bethesda, MD, USA - July 19, 2017: An entrance to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the top military medical center in the United States.

During Trump’s previous medical examinations, the White House has announced the visit in advance, and the president has taken the presidential helicopter, Marine One. On Saturday, Trump’s visit was not announced beforehand, and the president used a motorcade, which is equipped with an ambulance.

“That’s one of the unusual things about the whole situation,” Peña said. “Not just the mode of transportation but also, traditionally the physicals are announced and put on their public schedule. That’s why it doesn’t quite fit the profile.”

While there are other plausible explanations for the decision to forgo Marine One, the White House has not adequately communicated the circumstances around Trump’s visit, said Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent. “The way that this was messaged from the White House just was poor,” he said Monday on CNN.

Stephen Grover Cleveland, 1837 - 1908, was an American politician and lawyer who was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, digital improved reproduction of a woodcut from the year 1885. (Photo by: Bildagentur-online/UIG via Getty Images) Stephen Grover Cleveland, 1837 - 1908, was an American politician and lawyer who was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, digital improved reproduction of a woodcut from the year 1885. (Photo by: Bildagentur-online/UIG via Getty Images)

Previous presidents have also faced scrutiny for a lack of transparency about their health.

President Grover Cleveland secretly had surgery on a yacht in New York to remove a tumor from his mouth, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was diagnosed with polio, hid much of the effects of the disease from the public. President John F. Kennedy kept his Addison’s disease a secret until after his inauguration.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) faced criticism earlier this year after his campaign took several days to report that he had suffered a heart attack, initially describing his condition as a “myocardial infarction.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a fundraiser for the Nevada Democratic Party, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a fundraiser for the Nevada Democratic Party, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

During his campaign in 2016, Trump repeatedly brought up the health of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, describing her as not physically up to the task of being president. When Clinton fell ill at memorial event in September 2016, Trump’s allies highlighted video showing her collapsing. Clinton’s campaign eventually disclosed that the candidate had suffered a bout of pneumonia.

On Monday, Trump’s campaign pushed back against speculation that there was anything wrong with the president’s health, branding the news coverage over the hospital visit as “hysteria.”

“BREAKING: An X-Ray image has been released from President @realDonaldTrump’s visit to Walter Reed,” the campaign posted on Twitter, with an image of an X-ray of a caped man with a Superman logo across his chest. “Surely @CNN can stop the hysteria now!”

Speaking on Fox News on Saturday, Grisham said Trump’s visit to Walter Reed had been “routine” and dismissed “rumors” that there was a more troubling explanation for the impromptu trip.

“He is healthy as can be,” she said. “He’s got more energy than anybody in the White House. That man works from 6 a.m. until, you know, very, very late at night. He’s doing just fine.”

Trump had his first physical as president at Walter Reed in January 2018. His second was in February 2019. Trump’s doctors hailed his health as “excellent” and “very good” after those exams.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then on to Georgia to meet with supporters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) © ASSOCIATED PRESS White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then on to Georgia to meet with supporters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sotos said he viewed those “rosy” reports skeptically, in part because of questions about the reported height and weight in the first report, which placed Trump just one pound below being officially obese. Both his reported height of 6-foot-3 and weight of 239 pounds from that first visit faced scrutiny from outside observers.

“There’s pretty good reporting that the president has not been forthcoming about something as simple and innocuous as his height,” Sotos said. “I find it very hard to have confidence that the information being released is high quality.”

Peña said advantages of going to Walter Reed include the fact that it is the president’s home hospital and there is a dedicated facility for his care. In addition, because it is a military base, it is more secure, and officials are better able to maintain privacy than at a hospital open to the public.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2019, for South Carolina. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images) US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2019, for South Carolina. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump praised the doctors in a tweet Saturday, adding that he had visited a wounded service member during his trip.

“Those are truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world,” he wrote.

Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

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