President Donald Trump denied Tuesday that he suffered "a series of mini-strokes” last November, but questions remain about his unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center.
New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt wrote in his new book, “Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President,” 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."
Schmidt did not cite the source for the information.
Vice President Mike Pence never had to assume presidential powers, but the reason for Trump’s visit to the hospital remains a mystery, Schmidt wrote.
At the time, the White House said Trump’s two-hour examination at Walter Reed was part of his annual physical. But the trip seemed to go against precedent and protocol because it did not appear on Trump’s schedule and, according to CNN, medical staff were not alerted about the visit in advance.
Schmidt’s makes no mention in his book of ministrokes, which Trump focused on in his tweet Tuesday.
“It never ends!” the president wrote. “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!”
The White House confirmed to Newsweek that Trump’s tweet was in response to a tweet by Joe Lockhart, a CNN analyst and former press secretary under President Bill Clinton, that raised the question about whether Trump might have suffered a stroke.
“Did @realDonaldTrump have a stroke which he is hiding from the American public?” Lockhart wrote on Twitter.
The last time a vice president assumed the role of acting president was on July 21, 2007, when Dick Cheney took over for part of the day while President George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy.