Trump skipped anesthesia for a previously unreported procedure at Walter Reed to avoid giving Pence temporary power, according to new book

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FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he walks on South Lawn of the White House before his departure for an annual physical test at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
President Donald Trump departs to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Thomson Reuters
  • Trump skipped anesthesia for a 2019 procedure to avoid giving Pence temporary power, a new book says.

  • The account of the colonoscopy comes from ex-White House aide Stephanie Grisham's forthcoming book.

  • Grisham writes that Trump didn't want to be "the butt of a joke" of TV comedians.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Donald Trump skipped anesthesia for a previously unreported 2019 colonoscopy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center so he wouldn't have to temporarily relinquish his presidential powers, a new book says, according to The New York Times.

Trump puzzled reporters with a mysterious, unscheduled November 2019 visit to Walter Reed and added to the confusion by saying the appointment was the first part of his routine annual physical, which is normally done in just one appointment.

Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary and chief of staff to Melania Trump, indicates in a new book that the trip was for a regular colonoscopy. Her memoir "I'll Take Your Questions Now," set for publication on October 5, was obtained by The Washington Post and The Times ahead of publication.

Grisham, without naming the cause of the visit, describes it as being for "a very common procedure" for which "a patient is sometimes put under" - and says former President George W. Bush had one while in office.

Bush, who underwent a colonoscopy in 2007, temporarily signed over the powers of the presidency to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

But Trump, Grisham writes, was so reluctant to hand over those presidential powers to Vice President Mike Pence that he underwent the procedure without anesthesia, the book says, with Grisham adding that Trump didn't want to be "the butt of a joke" of TV comedians.

Grisham writes that Trump could have used the procedure to spread awareness and educate Americans about the importance of routine colonoscopies.

"But as with covid, he was too wrapped up in his own ego and his own delusions about his invincibility," she writes, according to The Post.

The forthcoming book from Grisham, who was in the former first lady's corner for years, elicited scathing responses from both Melania and Donald Trump.

"Stephanie didn't have what it takes and that was obvious from the beginning," the former president said in a statement on Tuesday.

Melania's post-White House office released a scathing statement of its own two weeks ago as initial leaks of the book began to emerge.

"It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behavior in the White House," the statement said of Grisham. "Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump."

As part of the growing collection of Trump White House tell-alls, Grisham's book has the potential for unique revelations, given her proximity to the reticent former first lady.

"Stephanie has secrets about Trump that even the first lady doesn't know," a publishing-industry source told Politico earlier this month. "Secrets that he doesn't want her to know. They will be in this book."

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