Trump's visit to Walter Reed 'not protocol' for routine visit, source says
Posted November 17, 2019 1:06 p.m. EST
CNN — President Donald Trump's visit to Walter Reed on Saturday did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit to the medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, ahead of Trump's arrival, according to that source.
Typically, Walter Reed's medical staff would get a general notice about a "VIP" visit to the medical center ahead of a presidential visit, notifying them of certain closures at the facility. That did not happen this time, indicating the visit was a non-routine visit and scheduled last minute.
The source said it was possible a small group of doctors involved in Trump's medical exams were notified before Trump arrived at Walter Reed, but said all medical staff at Walter Reed would typically be aware if the President was arriving for a routine medical exam.
His two previous physical exams in office were announced ahead of time by the White House and noted on his daily public schedule, but a source with knowledge of the matter told CNN Saturday that the President's unannounced trip to the medical center was not even on the President's internal schedule as of Saturday morning.
The President's motorcade drove to the medical center unannounced, with reporters under direction not to report his movement until they arrived Saturday at Walter Reed. Trump typically takes the Marine One helicopter to Walter Reed, but on Saturday's clear-skied day, the President opted for the motorcade.
A separate source familiar with the situation described Trump's visit as "abnormal," but added that Trump, 73, appeared to be in good health late Friday.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in response to a CNN request for comment on Sunday, said: "We're not going to get into security and movement protocols when it comes to the President, but as my statements said he's in good health and it was a routine checkup as part of his annual physical. I've given plenty of on the record statements that were truthful and accurate -- actively trying to find and report conspiracy theories really needs to stop."
Grisham on Saturday said Trump decided to get parts of his physical done early because he had a "free weekend" in Washington, but did not responded to questions about why Trump did not get his full physical exam -- which typically takes 4 hours -- done this weekend. Grisham also denied the President had any health issue.
Trump, Grisham said Saturday, underwent a "quick exam and labs." Several experts familiar with White House medical procedures said that Trump can get routine labwork done at the White House's on-site clinic, indicating Trump needed tests that can't be done there.
Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he does not plan to finish his physical until next year.
He underwent a full physical examination at the Walter Reed military hospital in February, and was deemed to be in "very good health overall."
At February's physical exam, Trump weighed 243 pounds, four pounds more than last year's exam. His blood pressure was measured as 118/80, and results showed he had increased his daily dose of rosuvastatin, a medication used to treat high cholesterol, according to the exam results.
Last year's exam revealed that Trump has a common form of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Then-White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson recommended the President get on a diet, start exercising and set a goal of losing a dozen pounds, but sources told CNN in February that Trump had made only minor changes to his diet and exercise regimen since his 2018 exam.
Jackson also revealed that Trump underwent a coronary calcium CT scan as part of his routine physical exam. Trump's score was recorded as 133, and Gupta noted at the time that anything over 100 indicates plaque is present and that the patient has heart disease.