More than six months have passed since President Donald Trump claimed to have started his annual physical exam at Walter Reed Hospital, but the White House declines to explain why he has not yet completed the tests.
Senior administration officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News, the sister network of Noticias Telemundo, about the delay, despite Trump announcing this week that he was taking an untested and potentially dangerous narcotics after had contact with an assistant who tested positive for coronavirus.
A month later, when the coronavirus pandemic caused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be hospitalized, Trump said he would end the exam “at the appropriate time” and added that he felt “very well.”
The annual physical examination of a president usually occurs at the beginning of the year. Trump’s for 2019 was held in February, and 2018’s was held in January. It is rare for a president to take months to complete a routine physical exam and to do it in multiple stages.
In November 2019, six months ago this week, Trump began what the White House described as “portions” of his third physical exam during a two-hour exam at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
That visit to Walter Reed was unannounced and was kept secret for two days while the President remained out of public view and the White House declined to answer questions about it.
The President’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, later wrote in a memo released by the White House that Trump’s “interim checkup” had been “routine.” At the time, Conley said a “more comprehensive” examination would be done this year and that the president’s test and lab results would be published in a report.
At 73, Trump is the oldest person to have sworn his first term as president.
Questions about the president’s health have recently increased, given his announcement this week that he is taking hydroxychloroquine to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Trump has repeatedly promoted the antimalarial drug as a treatment for the virus, despite multiple warnings about its dangers.
The Lancet medical journal published on Friday the results of a large observational study, which found that the use of hydroxychloroquine is linked to higher death rates and cardiac arrhythmias among hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Trump, in a 2018 physical exam, had been diagnosed with a common form of heart disease among men in his age group.
Conley replaced Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, who left the post to unsuccessfully be nominated as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Two sources with direct knowledge told NBC News that Jackson chose Conley as his successor and that many members of the White House Medical Unit believe that Conley was unfairly promoted to the president’s medical position without due process.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere questioned that version and told NBC News in a statement: “This type of report is extremely irresponsible because Dr. Conley is an imminently talented and qualified doctor with extensive experience and is Right to serve President Trump and make sure he stays healthy to continue his work on behalf of the American people. ”
When pressed about the findings of The Lancet study during a White House press conference on Friday, the administration’s coordinator of the coronavirus task force response, Dr. Deborah Birx, evaded a specific question about what that the new study could mean for the president’s health.