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Pence insists Trump is healthy as 2019 hospital stop scrutinized

In this file photo, members of the U.S. Military walk out of the gate at Walter Reed Army Medical Center August 25, 2005 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump denied having "a series of mini-strokes" during a mysterious visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last year. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/TNS)

Vice President Mike Pence insisted that President Donald Trump is in good health and said he had no recollection of being asked to be ready to stand in when his boss visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in November 2019.

Pence, in an interview with Fox News, was responding to a question about reports of an account in a forthcoming book by the New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt that the vice president was told to be prepared to temporarily assume Trump’s duties if he were put under anesthesia.

“I don’t recall being told to be on standby,” Pence told Bret Baier. “I was informed that the president had a doctor’s appointment. I got to tell you, part of this job is you’re always on standby because you’re vice president of the United States. But the American people can be confident that this president is in remarkable, good health, and every single day I see that energy in high relief.”

Earlier Tuesday, the president’s physician said he had not suffered or been evaluated for a stroke or mini stroke amid the renewed questions about Trump’s health and the reason for his unexpected visit to Walter Reed last Nov. 16, a Saturday. At the time, the White House said that he “was taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam at Walter Reed.”

Sean Conley, the physician said in a statement 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.”

A U.S. official said that it was standard to notify the vice president of the president’s whereabouts, including for doctor visits. “I’m always informed of the president’s movements,” Pence said in the Fox interview. “And whether it was on that day or any other day, I’m informed.”

Trump, 74, on Tuesday tweeted that an unspecified person was “trying to say” he had sought medical treatment for mini strokes that “never happened.”

Schmidt did not mention concerns that Trump had suffered from a particular ailment and said his book says nothing about mini strokes.

Even as he faces new questions about his health, the president and his allies have repeatedly tried to cast doubt on the mental acuity of his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who is 77.

In June, Trump took up several minutes of a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to address concerns about his unsteady walk down a ramp at West Point’s commencement ceremony, and online jokes about why he has appeared to struggle to drink glasses of water without using both hands.

After being given a glass of water at the lectern, Trump flamboyantly drank it with one hand and then flung it aside. The crowd cheered.


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