The president tried to dismiss rumors about his health after he made an unannounced medical visit to Walter Reed over the weekend.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday sought to downplay rampant scrutiny about his health after anunannounced weekend visitto the hospital, spinning his reassurances that it was just a physical into an attack on the press.
Speaking before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump brought up the abrupt trip to Walter Reed Medical Center unprompted, explaining that he’d only gone to undergo a portion of his yearly physical.
But he told reporters that he was greeted by a panicked first lady and communications department when he arrived back at the White House due to media coverage of the trip.
“I went for a physical. and I came back and my wife said, ‘Darling are you OK? … Oh they’re reporting you may have had a heart attack,’” Trump explained. “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 physicals.”
“I was only there for a very short period of time, I went, did a very routine, just a piece of it, the rest takes place in January,” he continued, noting that afterward he took a tour of the hospital and met with an injured soldier and their family. “I got back home and I get greeted with the news that ‘We understand you had a heart attack!’”
Press secretary Stephanie Grisham provided a positive readout of Trump's medical visit over the weekend, telling reporters that “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C." In an interview on Fox News later, she called Trump "healthy as can be."
Unlike his last two physicals while in office, Saturday’s medical trip was not on his public schedule released ahead of time. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that journalists were instructed not to report on his movements until they arrived at Walter Reed. Other reports noted that both thehospitalandlocal authoritiessimilarly got no advance notice of Trump’s visit.
The fact that the movement to Walter Reed by motorcade was off the record is a sign that today’s trip was *not planned in advance* — off the record movements like that are generally kept that way for security reasons if there has not been time to fully secure the motorcade route.
MORE: I reached out to the Montgomery County, Maryland (Walter Reed location) police. The spox I talked with said they did not get any sort of heads up for @realDonaldTrump’s trip to Walter Reed to
Motorcade/helipad-adjacent road closures for past vists were announced in advance
Trump’s physicianreleased a memoMonday rebuffing speculation that the White House was trying to mask anything with the unscheduled visit
His explanation over with, the president then pivoted into an attack on the media coverage of his hospital trip.
“These people are sick. They’re sick,” Trump said, also unprompted, of the speculative commentary surrounding his trip. “The press really in this country is dangerous.”
He continued his screed, repeating many of the same criticisms he’s leveled against the media: “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 acts straightened out.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer defended the skepticism, though, telling reporters in the Capitol that the media was right to question the official White House line, even as he offered the president well wishes.
“I don’t have any idea what’s going on, but if we learned anything at all from this administration, it takes them several tries before they get their story straight and the truth comes out," he argued. "So I think people are right to question the truthfulness of stories from the administration. In the meantime, I wish the president well from whatever he’s recovering from and whatever caused him to go to the hospital.”