Impeachment Takes a Back Seat to Trump Health Speculation
Author: Greg Valliere
November 19, 2019
FOR A DAY, AT LEAST, IMPEACHMENT didn’t dominate the Washington buzz. As we wrote yesterday, something was fishy about President Trump’s unscheduled dash to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday, and the subsequent speculation prompted White House officials to issue a curious statement last night denying that he underwent “any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.”
THERE’S SOPHISTICATED MACHINERY at the White House to deal with heart issues, so there must have been something else that prompted his visit to the renowned hospital. “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,” his Navy physician said.
MUCH OF THE SPECULATION LAST NIGHT centered on what required him to be at Walter Reed; some experts think it was the removal of polyps on his vocal chords. After dozens of campaign-style events this year, Trump’s voice has become raspy. Or there could have been polyps elsewhere, which couldn’t be burned off at the White House.
IN ANY EVENT, whatever happened on Saturday seemed to chill Trump a little, as the ferocity of his tweets seemed reduced for 48 hours. Amazingly, he even had a “cordial” meeting with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in the White House private quarters. The Fed insists there was no discussion of interest rates, but Trump said there was.
OUR GUESS IS THAT TRUMP wanted to apply some heat on Powell ahead of the Dec. 10-11 FOMC meeting. Trump obviously wants another rate cut then, but the chances of that happening are close to zero. There’s a bad combination looming for the president: no more rate reductions for a while, as fourth quarter GDP growth potentially slips below 1%.
WE’RE BACK TO THE MEDIA FRENZY today, as impeachment witnesses continue to pile on — there clearly was a quid pro quo: no weapons for Ukraine unless there was an investigation of Joe Biden. Nevertheless, there’s been remarkably little erosion — in public — of Trump’s support among Republicans, who can’t stop House impeachment but have more than enough votes to acquit in the Senate.
IN THE MEANTIME, a serious issue that deserves more attention is now in the limelight: the lack of transparency by the candidates on their health. Bernie Sanders had a major heart attack, yet his aides weren’t forthcoming for several days. Joe Biden had two brain aneurysms in the 1980s but has not released his data. And the speculation undoubtedly will persist over Trump’s curious visit to Walter Reed.
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