Pence told to be on standby to assume powers during Trump's abrupt Walter Reed visit: book

Vice President Pence was told to be on standby to assume presidential powers during President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE’s abrupt visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last year, according to New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt’s upcoming book obtained by CNN

Schmidt wrote that he learned "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.” 

He did not specify his sourcing for the information about the November hospital visit. 

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At the time, the White House said the president underwent a “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical exam preparing for “a very busy 2020.”

The president tweeted after his visit that his health was “very good (great!)” and that he would finish the exam in 2020. 

While Pence did not take over presidential powers, Schmidt’s book raises questions about the unscheduled hospital visit, which drew speculation at the time about the president’s health. 

Trump’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, countered the speculation in a statement days after the visit, saying Trump “has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues.” He said the trip was not announced due to “scheduling uncertainties.”

A person familiar with the matter told CNN at the time that Trump’s visit did not follow traditional protocol at the hospital with a staff-wide notice of the president’s arrival being sent out.

The source told CNN that it was possible a small number of doctors were told before Trump came, but the practice strayed from the normal handling of his routine visits.