Let's Get Physicals
November 18, 2019

President Trump spent about two hours at Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday for what he called "phase one of my yearly physical" in a tweet on Sunday. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Saturday afternoon that Trump, 73, was simply "taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam."

Unlike Trump's previous two physicals, this one wasn't on his public schedule — or, CNN reported Sunday, his private calendar. Also, NBC News notes, the previous exams didn't involve "multiple 'phases.'" The medical staff at Walter Reed "did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential" or "VIP" visit, as would normally happen, CNN says, "indicating the visit was a non-routine visit and scheduled last minute." One source told CNN that Trump's visit was "abnormal" but he'd appeared to be in good health late Friday.

On Saturday night, Grisham told NBC News that Trump "is fine — perfectly healthy," he had undergone "a routine checkup," and "speculation of this nature is irresponsible and dangerous for this country." On Sunday, she told CNN her previous statements "were truthful and accurate" and "actively trying to find and report conspiracy theories really needs to stop."

It's certainly possible everything Grisham said is "truthful and accurate," but it's also odd, according to White House veterans:

Like "thousands of other people who have worked" in the White House, "here is something I know first-hand," tweeted James Fallows, a Carter administration alumnus: "If a president needs routine tests, there's an amply staffed medical office right inside the White House. It's a one-minute walk." Whatever Trump was doing Saturday, he added, it was "100 percent not 'routine.'" Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads