President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 2, after testing positive for COVID-19. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images
President Donald Trump followed the steps of several of his predecessors when he was hospitalized on Friday, the day after his coronavirus test positive.
Trump arrived Friday afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he will “be working from the president’s offices for the next few days,” said press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Given the extensive medical facilities at the White House, it is extremely rare for a President to stay in a hospital. But Trump isn’t the first president to do this for a variety of reasons.
A view of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 2, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)
Here are other presidents who have been hospitalized during their tenure:
Grover Cleveland: In 1893, the country was in economic recession – and President Grover Cleveland had to undergo oral surgery. Doctors took a sample of a tumor without revealing Cleveland’s identity and advised him to have it removed. However, some feared the news of Cleveland’s operation would worsen the economic crisis, and it seemed impossible to stay in a regular hospital without attracting public attention.
On a friend’s yacht, under the guise of a fishing trip, a team of secrecy doctors performed the operation that ultimately removed bones from Cleveland’s left jaw. The president received a convincing prosthesis and reporters were told he was recovering from a cold and toothache. Despite a leak in the press about the operation, the public reportedly accepted the White House report that the report was false, and Cleveland served the remainder of his term in office.
William McKinley: In 1901 President William McKinley was shot and killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York. He was taken to the hospital for exhibition reasons, where the doctors did not arrive for half an hour according to the surgery records.
Despite the two shots, McKinley reportedly “felt no particular pain” after being given morphine for the pain and later ether as an anesthetic. Although McKinley’s condition appeared to improve after the operation, his condition soon began to deteriorate, and he eventually died eight days after the shot.
Theodore Roosevelt: Three years after taking office, Theodore Roosevelt, who was running for a third term as a candidate for the Bull Moose Party after succeeding McKinley, met supporters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before a speech when he was shot and wounded in New York Saloon Keeper John Closet. Rescued in part by his thick voice memos and the glasses case blocking the bullet, Roosevelt gave the nearly hour-long speech in a bloody shirt before agreeing to go to the hospital. He lived the rest of his life with the bullet in his body.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in Denver in September 1955. He suffered from chest pain and was misdiagnosed with a gastrointestinal problem before being rushed to the hospital in a Secret Service car. The White House initially downplayed the severity of the heart attack, and heart experts were brought to Denver when the president was in the hospital for seven weeks.
Eisenhower had to be operated on for Crohn’s disease in 1956 and suffered a stroke in 1957. However, some scholars have argued that while the 1955 heart attack raises questions about whether he is eligible for re-election or running for office in 1956, the event ultimately motivates him to run for another term.
Ronald Reagan: In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was hit by a ricochet bullet outside the Hilton Hotel when John Hinckley fired six shots in less than two seconds and hit Press Secretary James Brady, Intelligence Agent Timothy McCarthy, and DC Police Officer Thomas Delahanty. Reagan was rushed to George Washington University Hospital in a split second, which may have saved his life – the bullet penetrated an inch of the president’s heart and filled one lung with blood.
After the attack, Reagan joked with his wife, saying he “forgot to crouch” and asked attending doctors if they were Republicans.