White House Press Secretary Blamed For Inaccurate Details Surrounding Pres. Biden’s January Neurologist Visit

White House Press Secretary Blamed For Inaccurate Details Surrounding Pres. Biden’s January Neurologist Visit

Shouldn't medical issues be private?

The finger is being pointed at White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who told reporters that a meeting in January 2024 with a neurologist wasn’t related to President Joe Biden’s health when, in fact, it was.

Reports revealed the President did meet with a neurologist on January 17 as part of his annual physical exam. Reporters asked Jean-Pierre if the meeting between expert neurologist Dr. Kevin Cannard and Biden’s personal doctor, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, was about the commander-in-chief. 

According to White House visitor logs, the meeting was between the two doctors only between July 2023 and March 2024. “Because the date was not mentioned in the question, I want to be clear that the Jan. 17 meeting between Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Cannard was for the President’s physical,” Jean-Pierre said.

“It was one of the three times the President has seen Dr. Cannard, each time for his physical. The findings from each exam have been released to the public.”

The timeline has been met with scrutiny, since Cannard allegedly visited the White House eight times during that time period. 

Jean-Pierre has had the responsibility of having to clarify answers to questions regarding the president’s health since his debate performance on June 27 raised concerns. In early July 2024, she told reporters that the President “did not get checked out by the doctor” for a noticeable cold during the debate. 

Shortly after, Biden himself said during a reported private meeting with Democratic governors that he was seen by medical professionals after the debate wrapped up. Jean-Pierre doubled back on her comments, claiming she meant to say Biden did not get a full medical exam, but did have a “check-in” with his doctor, typically done a few times per week. 

According to Politico, in a letter released by O’Connor on July 8, he clarified the reasons behind the need for a Parkinson’s disease specialist’s visits. Cannard has served as a neurology consultant to the White House medical office since 2012, hence his need to visit the White House numerous times a year. Also serving as a Parkinson’s expert, he holds neurology clinics for active-duty military members. 

The doctor reiterated that the President’s physical in February 2024 found no findings consistent with “any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy.”

“Seeing patients at the White House is something that Dr. Cannard has been doing this for a dozen years,” the letter read. 

“Dr. Cannard was chosen for this responsibility not because he is a movement disorder specialist, but because he is a highly trained and highly regarded neurologist here at Walter Reed and across the Military Health System, with a very wide expertise which makes him flexible to see a variety of patients and problems.”

Following the release of the letter, Jean-Pierre mentioned on July 9 that “a lot of the things I said right here in this briefing room” were restated in the letter. She admitted to being at fault for some comments and how she and other White House press aides are doing “our best in this briefing to provide the information that we have.” “I will be the first one to admit: Sometimes I get it wrong. At least I admit that,” she said. 

“And sometimes I don’t have the information. And I will always, always admit that.”