During a news briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the White House was involved in retrieving President Trump’s medical records from his former doctor, Dr. Harold Bornstein, but disputed Bornstein’s claim that what a top White House aide and Trump Organization official did to his office in February 2017 was tantamount to a “raid.”
“Why did Keith Schiller, who was a White House employee at the time, go and take medical records from the president’s personal doctor last year?” NBC’s Hallie Jackson asked. Schiller is Trump’s longtime bodyguard and served as director of Oval Office operations from Trump’s inauguration until September of last year.
“Ah, as is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House medical unit took possession of the president’s medical records,” Sanders replied.
“It was characterized as a ‘raid’ — is that your understanding of what happened?” Jackson followed up. “The doctor seemed to be pretty upset about it.”
“Ah no, that is not my understanding,” Sanders replied, without elaborating.
A short time later, another reporter followed up, noting that “there are some today that are saying what happened with the president’s former personal doctor is a burglary, the way Keith Schiller busted in–”
Sanders cut him off.
“I don’t know if ‘some’ — I think there is one, but not ‘some,'” Sanders said, alluding to Bornstein’s recollection of in the incident. “Once again, it would be standard procedure for the president — a newly elected president’s medical records to be in possession by the White House medical unit, and that was what was taking place, is those records were being transferred over to the White House medical unit, as requested.”
Sanders’ portrayal of the February 2017 incident is at odds with Bornstein, who told NBC that the “raid” left him feeling “raped, frightened, and sad” and “created a lot of chaos.”
Bornstein said that the incident happened two days after he told the New York Times that Trump takes Propecia, a drug that is often prescribed to stimulate hair grown in men.
“I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important,” Bernstein said. “And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”
Trump's doctor, Dr. Harold Bornstein, tells NBC that Trump's bodyguard & lawyer spent 30 minutes raiding his office.
"I couldn't believe anybody was making a big deal about a drug that's to grow his hair, which seemed to be so important… what's the matter with that?" pic.twitter.com/R2XvAKim7h
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2018
Bornstein said that Schiller, Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten, and another “large man” showed up unexpectedly at his office and spent about 30 minutes rummaging through it. He says they took the original and only copy of Trump’s medical charts.
During a subsequent conversation with CBS, Bornstein compared what happened in his office to the Watergate break-in.
.@KaciSokoloff just spoke w Dr. Harold Bornstein, who refused an interview but said that NBC's piece was "a pretty good story." Bornstein also said that he spoke to the NBC reporter “in the bathroom” of his office. He signed off with: "Sweetheart, this is watergate, goodbye!"
— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) May 1, 2018
During the presidential campaign, Bornstein — who was Trump’s personal doctor for more than three decades — released a letter proclaiming Trump had “no significant medical problems in the past 39 years” and would be “the healthiest individual elected to the presidency.”
During a press conference earlier this year, White House doctor Ronny Jackson provided a similarly glowing review of Trump’s health. “Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the past 20 years he might live to be 200 year old,” Jackson said. He also confirmed that Trump takes Propecia.
Jackson was recently nominated by Trump to be director of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but his nomination quickly fell through amid allegations that he doled out prescription drugs like candy and drank excessively on the job. Trump has repeatedly said he believes all of the allegations against Jackson are false.
During the briefing on Tuesday, Sanders confirmed that Jackson no longer serves as Trump’s personal physician.