Donald Trump: Mysterious Walter Reed Visit

Unexpected Walter Reed visit 2019
With no prior announcement, Trump was driven to Walter Reed Hospital during the afternoon of Saturday, November 16, 2019, supposedly for a routine "interim" physical examination 1. Despite reassuring statements from the White House press office and, later, from the President's physician that all was well with the President MORE, the undeniably unusual logistics of the event raised medical questions (that have yet to be answered) and prompted much speculation (including from Dr. Zebra SEE BELOW).

Eight months later, questions about Tump's health arose after he visited West Point. In response, the White House released a summary of his physical, including a statement that the physical had been completed at the White House. Trump, however, later stated that the November visit to Walter Reed was the conclusion of his physical. 2 Specific refutations of much of the earlier medical speculation were also released 3 4.

On the heels of this, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the New York Times reported in a book 5a that

In reporting for this book, I learned that 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. Pence never assumed the powers of the presidency, and the reason for Trump's trip to the doctor remains a mystery.
Asked about this, Pence said he didn't recall being told to be on standby 6 -- a rather incredible statement 7.
[[ These speculations written circa January 2020. As noted above, the White House has since then issued denials of certain elements. Since the denials, Dr. Zebra has not yet revisited these speculations. ]]

Here is the main problem. Officials want us to believe a series of events occurred that would have been pitched to President Trump with a conversation like this:

"Sir, we're going to take 5 hours of your day to bring you to Walter Reed for an hour of consultation, despite the fact that you'll be coming back for another multi-hour visit two months later. And, while you're at Walter Reed, we won't do any specialized evaluations, in fact we won't do anything we couldn't do at the White House. We'll even drive you so it takes longer than flying by helicopter.

"Yes, sir, we know that you really hate germs and that hospitals are filled with the worst germs there are. That's why we want to keep you there for longer than necessary, for a tour, even though discussions of medical treatments are distasteful to you and even though, if you had to make a hospital tour, you could at any time visit a military hospital overseas which is better P.R.

"Yes, sir, we know you like to play golf on weekends. But we think you'll also enjoy talking with the family of a servicemember who is physically damaged as a result of obeying orders that came from your administration. Yes, sir, we know that if the servicemember's children are there that will be a particularly difficult thing for you emotionally, but we will have plenty of Purell and hand-wipes for you after you give them an endearing touch.

"Yes, sir, we think this is the right way to handle your preventive health care. True, we are bringing you back sooner than any other President has ever been brought back for routine preventive health care, but it won't look bad and besides, you are, after all, older than all of the others were, except for that one who had Alzheimer disease. Pardon? Uh, no, sir, of course you have great genes and have nothing wrong with you like Alzheimer disease. We just think that this will keep your name in front of the public due to the fact that it won't be pre-announced and so the press will go hyper and have a reason to write stories about you on an otherwise quiet weekend. And this novel course will also give us the chance to educate the public that routine preventative care occurs continuously throughout the year, and is not just a single annual event. It's a win-win!"

So what actually did happen? Alas, we have little to go on beyond the official statement from the President's physician. This is problematic, however, because its most crucial sentences appear to be as carefully engineered as a jet engine, to sound reassuring while technically allowing great wiggle room and deniability.

From the full text of the physician's note MORE, here are the critical sentences that require careful parsing:

The President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues. Specifically, he did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.
Dr. Zebra dissects these sentences here --> MORE (Note: Months later Dr. Conley issued a clarification. They will be evaluated soon.)

The most informative question to ponder about this event is: What is available at Walter Reed that is not available at the White House medical facility?

Cited Sources
  1. Olorunnipa, Toluse; Gardner, Amy. Trump's health under scrutiny again after unplanned visit to Walter Reed. (Published Nov. 18, 2019. Downloaded on 2019-12-27.) Available on the web:
  2. Bump, Philip. Years of the White House obscuring health information add instability at a tricky moment. (Published 2 Oct. 2020. Downloaded on 2021-01-24.) Available on the web:
  3. Allassan, Fadel. Trump asks White House physician to address reports about his health. (Published 1 Sept. 2020. Downloaded on 2021-01-24.) Available on the web:
  4. Kelly, Carolyn; Carvajal, Nikki; Klein, Betsy. Trump and his doctor say mini-stroke did not prompt President's trip to Walter Reed last year. (Published 2 Sept. 2020. Downloaded on 2021-01-24.) Available on the web:
  5. Schmidt, Michael S. Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President. New York: Random House, 2020.
    a  pp.389-390
  6. Axios. Pence: "I don't recall being told to be on standby" during Trump's Walter Reed visit. (Published 1 Sept. 2020. Downloaded on 2021-01-24.) Available on the web:
  7. Cillizza, Chris. Mike Pence's laughable response to questions about Trump's Walter Reed visit. (Published 2 Sept. 2020. Downloaded on 2021-01-24.) Available on the web:

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