Donald Trump said Friday that he agreed to complete part of his annual physical last Saturday on short notice because he didn’t want to spend the afternoon watching college football.
‘The doctor said, “Sir … You might be able to knock off half of your physical”,’ the president recalled in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview. ‘I said, “You know what? That’s not a bad idea,” because I had three hours.’
Trump said his decision was ‘between that and watching a football game that I didn’t want to watch. … I had three free hours.’ So he spent the afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Last Saturday’s NCAA schedule lacked a marquee contest like the Alabama–LSU game a week earlier, when Trump traveled to Tuscaloosa to watch the no. 2 Tigers squeak by the no. 3 Crimson Tide in a high-scoring display of pigskin fireworks.
Instead all of the seven top-ranked teams were playing against unranked opponents.
The Nielsen Company estimated that 16.64 million people watched the Alabama-LSU matchup. While Trump was getting his physical the top-rated Georgia-Auburn game drew less than 6.8 million, according to Sports Media Watch.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he agreed to begin his annual physical early because the alternative was an afternoon watching low-rated college football games
Trump told ‘Fox & Friends’ that he made the spur-of-the-moment decision to go to Walter Reed medical center when his doctor asked if he had a few free hours; TV news reporters later speculated wildly about a cardiac crisis that never existed
Trump traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Nov. 9 to watch the Crimson Tide lose to the LSU Tigers, in a hotly anticipated no. 2 vs. no. 3 game watched by 16.64 million people
The top-rated game a week later, Baylor vs. Oklahoma, drew less than 7 million pairs of eyeballs as none of the top 7 teams played against ranked opponents
The president said Friday that Navy physician Sean Conley had asked him, “Would you like to go out to Walter Reed and do your first part of the physical right [now]?” I said, “Yeah, go ahead. Let’s go”.’
He vented about media stories that ranged from the quizzical to the conspiratorial, blaming first CNN and then MSNBC for broadcasting guesswork about what might be ailing him enough for a three-hour hospital visit.
While news stories percolated, Trump was visiting wounded veterans and medical staff.
‘We drive out to Walter Reed. Greatest doctors, greatest everything, greatest place you’ve ever seen, what they can do,’ he said. ‘So I start my physical, go see the soldiers, go see the families, did a little tour of the building, then get back in [the limousine].’
‘On the way back, I’m hearing rumors that I’m in the hospital. Then I’m hearing rumors that I had chest pains. Then I’m hearing rumors that I had a massive heart attack. Then I’m hearing rumors that I’m not coming back,’ Trump fumed. ‘I’m staying at Walter Reed overnight and maybe for a long time.’
Back at the White House, he said Friday, first lady Melania Trump had been watching TV.
Mississippi wide receiver Elijah Moore looked on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU last Saturday, a contest that drew less than 10 per cent of the TV audience as LSU’s game the previous week, against Alabama
Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday for what he claimed was ‘phase one’ of his annual physical
Anti-Trump lawyer George Conway started a conspiracy theory about Trump using the shorter rear stairs of Air Force One; the decision was made by the Air Force due to 30 mph wind gusts
‘I come home and my wife says, “Darling, darling, are you okay?”‘ he recalled. ‘I said, “Okay from what?”.’
Trump said TV networks had no excuse to allow speculation about a medical emergency. Reporters in the press pool that follows the president each day saw him leave the White House and depart the hospital a few hours later.
‘Just so you know, like, literally many, many, many cars go,’ he said, describing the motorcade. ‘It’s not like—and they have a press van following, you know, when I go.’
And the White House, he said, had arranged for three physicians to call CNN and report that he had no medical crisis.
‘It’s so disgusting what they do because they knew it wasn’t true. They went with it. After we certified with medical people, we had three medical people call them up to say it’s not true. They went with it anyway,’ Trump said.
‘You couldn’t kill the story because they’re bad people. It’s fake, corrupt news. It’s CNN mostly.’
A new round of speculation began Wednesday when a Navy doctor was photographed boarding Air Force One with the president before he took off for a day trip to Austin, Texas.
Trump said first lady Melania Trump asked if he had suffered a heart attack when he returned from his visit to Walter Reed. She said the media was reporting about his visit and claiming he had ‘chest discomfort’
When he arrived, Trump deplaned via the plane’s rear door instead of the front, walking down a smaller staircase than usual.
That, too, drove Twitter conspiracy theorists to new levels of lather.
‘Why is he using the downstairs door with the shorter stairs? Did he trip on Saturday and require a CT scan?’ asked George Conway, an anti-Trump lawyer married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
A Pentagon official said Thursday that the tall staircase normally wheeled up to the plane couldn’t be used last Saturday because of high winds at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data archive shows that at the hour Trump landed, the airport’s weather station recorded sustained winds of 17 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.
An Air Force public information officer said Friday that such high windspeeds preclude them from risking a presidential tumble down long airport staircases.
The president’s physician, Navy Commander Sean Conley (pictured center), confirmed in a statement that the checkup was part of his routine physical
‘[T]he President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,’ Dr. Sean Conley said is a statement released late Monday night
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer ignored the president’s denial this week that his medical appointment was centered around any sort of health issues.
‘I wish the president well from whatever he’s recovering from,’ Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.
Although Trump, 73, blamed CNN for the rumors, it originated with a tweet from an opinion contributor for The Hill.
‘#BreakingNews Sources tell me from Walter Reed the President was being checked out for chest discomfort. No other information is available at this time,’ Andrew Vernon tweeted Saturday night.
Late Monday night Dr. Conley released a statement confirming claims by the president and his press secretary that the checkup was nothing out of the ordinary.
‘[T]he President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,’ Conley said in the statement. ‘Specifically he did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.’