United States Army via Wikimedia Commons

On Friday, following his Covid-19 diagnosis, President Trump unexpectedly took a short hop aboard the ‘Marine One’ helicopter to the new Walter Reed Medical Center in nearby Maryland for treatment and observation. The White House later released photos of Trump reportedly working in different rooms of the Presidential Suite at the hospital.

Few have ever seen the interior of this expansive, highly secure, and somewhat secretive suite of rooms. The Medical Evaluation and Treatment Unit, known as Ward 71, is a six-room presidential suite just for the commander in chief. It is considered Defense Department grounds, and unlike the rest of the facility, is controlled by the White House

It consists of a special intensive care unit (ICU), kitchen, living room, bedroom, and dining room. While some say it is “Less West Wing, and more Rest Wing,” Ward 71 also hosts a conference room for matters of state.

It appears that at least one of President’s Trump videos, recorded from the hospital, was done in the suite’s conference room. NBC News reported that there is also an attached area to the ward that includes an office for the White House chief of staff and bedrooms for him, his White House doctor, and other top aides who must remain by the president’s side.

There is also a suite for the First Lady (FLOTUS.)

The original Walter Reed Army Hospital located in Washington DC was built in 1909 and named after Major Walter Reed who did groundbreaking work on the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitos.

As reported by NZHerald and NBC News, several presidents have been treated there, including:

  • Franklin D Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan who both underwent cancer surgery.
  • President Reagan also recovered in the hospital following an assassination attempt in 1981 which left him with a punctured lung and internal bleeding.
  • President Nixon was treated at the hospital for viral pneumonia in July 1973.
  • Former President Dwight Eisenhower died there in 1969 after being hospitalized for nine months with heart issues.
  • The autopsy of John F Kennedy, following his assassination in Dallas in 1963, was also completed at Walter Reed.

However, after a century, the facility was showing its age and it moved to new facilities in Maryland in 2011 at a cost of $2.7 billion, when it had its name changed to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being merged with the National Naval Medical Center (AKA: Bethesda Naval Hospital).

This merger created the “world’s largest joint military medical center” with “more than 2.4 million square feet of clinical space” and roughly “7,100 total staff members.”

Part of this cost certainly went toward the section of the hospital, on the south side of the large medical campus, fitted with the latest technology as well as top notch security, that is off limits to anyone but POTUS, FLOTUS, and their staff – Ward 71.

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