On Tuesday he wrote on Twitter, “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!”
But his claim that the reports are “fake news” are a bit puzzling. The source of the renewed interest in the president’s hospital visit is Donald Trump vs. the United States, a new book out today by the New York Times‘ Michael Schmidt that says word went out that Vice President Mike Pence should 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,” according to CNN.
Schmidt, though, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the book “says nothing about mini-strokes.”
According to NBC News’ Peter Alexander, a White House aide said that the president was referring to a tweet sent Monday by Joe Lockhart, former press secretary under Bill Clinton. Lockhart wrote on Monday, “Did @realDonaldTrump have a stroke which he is hiding from the American public?”
After he was criticized by the former White House physician, Ronny Jackson, for the tweet, Lockhart wrote, “@RonnyJackson4TX if you read the tweet you’ll see I asked a question based on an unannounced trip to the hospital and the VP bring out on notice. No reporting just a question. Your reaction suggests a lot of defensiveness on your part.” Jackson now is running for a congressional seat in Texas.
The Trump campaign put out a statement calling for CNN to fire Lockhart as a commentator.
The hospital visit was unexpected, but the president’s current physician said in November that it was part of “a routine, planned interim checkup as part of the regular, primary preventative care he receives throughout the year.”
The doctor, Sean Conley, also released a new statement on Tuesday, saying that he can confirm that 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.” He said that Trump “remains healthy, and I have no concerns about his ability to maintain the rigorous schedule ahead of him. As stated in my last report, I expect him to remain fit to execute the duties of the presidency.”