WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday addressed speculation about his health, asserting that his abrupt hospital visit over the weekend was part of a “very routine physical.”
Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House before the start of a Cabinet meeting, revived his longstanding attacks on the news media, criticizing coverage of his unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center Saturday.
The president’s previous two annual physicals while in office were announced ahead of time.
But this latest check-up was not been listed on the president’s daily schedule, and local authorities and hospital officials were not given advance notice of the trip as is customarily done.
“I had a very routine physical, visited the family of a young soldier who was very badly injured. He was in the operating room. I toured the hospital for a little while. I was out of there very quickly and got back home,” Trump said.
He said the media coverage led his wife, Melania, and White House press aides to worry about his condition.
“I get greeted with the news that, ‘We understand you had a heart attack.’ I was called by our people in public relations: ‘Sir, are you OK?’” Trump said. “I said OK for what?'”
Trump said upon his return from the hospital, the first lady asked: “‘Darling, are you OK? … They are reporting you may have had a heart attack.’ I said why did I have a heart attack? ‘Because you went to Walter Reed Medical Center.’”
News media outlets have reported general details about Trump’s unexpected trip to Walter Reed, but Trump on Tuesday did not indicate which outlets he believed had reported that he had a heart attack.
The White House released a statement late Monday from the president’s personal physician, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley. He called the visit a “routine, planned interim checkup,” that would be followed by a second check-up later next year. Saturday’s physical came nine months after Trump had his last annual physical.
“Despite some of the speculation, the President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,” Conley wrote.
Conley, with Trump’s consent, released the president’s cholesterol level — 165, down from 196 listed in a summary of Trump’s physical from earlier this year. A level of 170 or less is deemed “acceptable,” according to American Heart Association guidelines.