Trump claims surprise hospital visit was 'routine'

The president on Tuesday dismissed the idea that the weekend medical exam could have been connected to any significant physical issue.

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By Lauren Egan

President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted his unannounced medical exam over the weekend was “routine,” brushing off speculation that he had sought treatment for an undisclosed medical issue.

“I went for a physical on Saturday. My wife said, ‘Oh darling, that's wonderful,’ because I had some extra time. 'Cause it looks like January could be a busy month,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

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“I came back, my wife said: ‘Darling are you OK, what’s wrong? Oh, they're reporting you may have had a heart attack,’” Trump said.

“I said I was only there for a very short period of time. I went, 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, but visited the family of a young soldier who was very badly injured, who was in the operating room.”

Trump said that when he returned to the White House after his roughly two-hour visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center, he was greeted by the news that he supposedly had a heart attack.

“I was called by our people in public relations, ‘Sir, are you OK?’ I said, ‘OK from what?’ ‘The word is you had a heart attack. CNN said you may have had a heart attack. You had massive chest pains, you went to the hospital?’” Trump said, mimicking a dialogue with staff members. (CNN did not report that the president had had a heart attack.)

Although there is nothing unusual about a president visiting the hospital for an annual physical, these events are typically announced on the president’s public schedule, and the White House press corps is given advance notice. Annual presidential physicals are not typically conducted in two parts.

Trump had no events on his public schedule on Saturday when he made the hospital visit. His last physical was in February.

On Monday, White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo that “scheduling uncertainties” had kept the visit off the record and that the president's visit was not due to any "urgent or acute issues.”