Vice President Mike Pence was placed on standby to temporarily assume the presidency when President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed Hospital in November 2019, according to a new book from New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt.
The White House did not specify the nature of Trump’s visit at the time beyond saying he was undergoing various health tests ahead of the 2020 campaign season according to CNN, which obtained a copy of Schmidt’s upcoming book.
“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,” the book reportedly reads.
Trump took to Twitter to criticize Schmidt’s alleged claims soon after they were reported on Tuesday.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2020
The report may reignite speculation around the hospital visit, which already had the media asking questions in 2019 about why the visit was left off the White House schedule if it was merely for annual physical exams. (RELATED: CNN’s Conspiracy Coverage Of Trump’s Supposed Health Scare Could Actually Be A Real Problem)
The continued speculation around Trump’s health at the time led to frustration on the part of the president, saying the media was engaging in conspiracies.
“I went for a physical and I came back. My wife said, ‘Darling are you okay? What’s wrong? Oh, they’re reporting you may have had a heart attack,’” Trump said. “I went, I did a very routine, just a piece of it, the rest of it takes place in January, did a very routine physical. Visited the family, visited a couple of groups … I toured the hospital for a little while. I was out of there very quickly.”
“These people are sick. They’re sick.” Trump asserted about the media. “And the press really in this country is dangerous.”