President Trump on Tuesday denied that the reason for his visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last fall was “a series of mini-strokes.”
“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,” he tweeted.
Then, at Mr. Trump’s request, Sean Conley, the president’s physician, offered a fuller denial in a statement Tuesday.
“President Donald J Trump has asked that I, Dr. Sean Conley, physician to the President, address the recent public comments regarding his health,” he said in the statement. “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.”
No media outlet has reported that Mr. Trump has suffered a stroke, mini-stroke or heart-related health incident.
The White House said that the president was referring to a tweet by former Clinton administration White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, who tweeted on Monday, “Did @realDonaldTrump have a stroke which he is hiding from the American public?” Lockhart did not claim to have any evidence that this was the case, but said in another tweet on Tuesday, “We are starting to get to the bottom of the ridiculous explanation from the White House that @realDonaldTrump took an unannounced trip to the hospital to do half of his annual physical. It turns out the VP was put on standby to temporarily take over Presidential duties.”
But it wasn’t enough for the president and his physician to deny the theory. The Trump campaign, in an unattributed statement that echoes the president’s own tone, called for Lockhart to be fired.
“CNN should fire Joe Lockhart, a lifetime failure who thought it was a great idea for fellow loser Michael Dukakis to put on that stupid helmet, for knowingly pushing a conspiracy theory about President Trump’s health,” the unsigned statement reads. “Great political expert that he is, Lockhart single-handedly sank the John Kerry campaign and now he’s doing the same to Joe Biden from a distance. If another CNN employee said similar things about Barack Obama they’d be fired immediately, so the same standard should be applied here. That is, of course, unless CNN is complicit in the smear campaign in order to level the playing field against Joe Biden, somebody who truly has lost a step.”
The presidentin November, a visit the White House has said was to get a on his annual physical.
In a new book, New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt reported that Vice President Pence was on standby to assume the role of the presidency if needed during the president’s visit to Walter Reed, though Schmidt said Tuesday he did not report anything about “mini-strokes” in his book. Schmidt’s reporting has not been independently confirmed by CBS News.
Pence did not deny that he was placed on standby, but said, he didn’t “recall” being placed on “standby” when asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier.
Fin Gomez contributed reporting.