White House releases letter from Biden’s doctor after questions about Parkinson’s specialist’s visits to White House

Washington — The White House released a letter from President Biden’s physician Monday night, after spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre was repeatedly asked during a briefing earlier in the day about Biden’s health and whether visits to the White House by a Parkinson’s disease specialist concerned the president.

White House visitor logs, details of which were first reported by the New York Post and the New York Times, show that Dr. Kevin Cannard, an expert on Parkinson’s disease, visited the White House eight times from last summer to this spring. The logs show that Cannard met with Mr. Biden’s personal physician at least once.

Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday afternoon that the president is not being treated for Parkinson’s disease.

“Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkinson’s? No, he is not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No,” she said.

But the spokesperson refused at the time to confirm the doctor visits, citing “security reasons.”

It led to a tense back-and-forth between Jean-Pierre and reporters. It came as the president remained steadfast in the face of critics who had urged him to end his re-election campaign after a disastrous debate presentation against former President Donald Trump on June 27.

“You’re not answering a very basic, direct question” about doctor visits, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe told Jean-Pierre.

“Every year, around the president’s physical, he sees a neurologist,” she said. “That’s three times.”

“In the White House or Walter Reed?” O’Keefe asked, referring to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where presidents typically undergo their annual medical exams. Biden had a check there in February.

“That’s what I’m sharing with you. So every time he has a physical exam, he’s had to see a neurologist. So that’s the answer to that question,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Did Dr. Kevin Cannard come to the White House specifically because of the President’s condition?” O’Keefe asked again.

“For security reasons, we cannot share names,” the press secretary said. “We cannot share names of specialists widely, from a dermatologist to a neurologist.”

CBS News noted that the visits were public information, but Jean-Pierre said she could not confirm the visits because “we have to protect their privacy.”

“It doesn’t matter how hard you push me. It doesn’t matter how angry you get at me. I’m not going to confirm a name. It doesn’t matter if it’s even in the log,” she said. “It’s inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. So I’m not going to do it.”

On Monday evening, the White House released a memo from the president’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, saying he had received approval from President Biden and Dr. Cannard to share more details.

“Dr. Cannard was the neurological specialist who examined President Biden for each of his annual physicals. His findings have been made public each time I have released the results of the President’s annual physical. President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical,” O’Connor wrote, noting that Cannard has been the consultant to neurology in the White House Medical Department since 2012.

“The results of this year’s exam were detailed in my February 28 letter: “A very detailed neurological examination was again reassuring, as there were no findings consistent with a cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or ascending lateral sclerosis,” O’Connor wrote.

O’Connor also noted that Cannard regularly visits the White House Medical Unit “in support of the thousands of active-duty service members assigned to support White House operations. Many military personnel experience neurological problems related to their service, and Dr. Cannard regularly visits the WHMU as part of this overall neurology practice.”

The president, who is adamant that he will stay in the race, has gone on the offensive in recent days.

Since the debate, Mr. Biden has been trying to prove he can hold the job for another four years by participating in a number of Job interviews, campaign events And make outreach to prominent Democrats and donors in an effort to gain support.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Mr. Biden said Monday in a telephone interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I wouldn’t run if I didn’t absolutely believe I was the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024. We had a Democratic nominating process where the voters spoke clearly.”

In a letter to Democrats in Congress on Monday, Mr. Biden said he “determined“to continue his campaign and called for a debate on whether he has a way forward to end this.

First lady Jill Biden, seen as one of the few who could influence his decision, echoed his message at a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“Joe has made it clear that he’s going to go all the way,” she said. “That’s the decision he’s made, and just as he’s always been supportive of my career, I’m going to go all the way.”

Although several Democrats in the House of Representatives have called on him to withdraw from the raceMany have said they still support him. No Democratic senators have publicly called on the president to step aside, though some have urged him to do more to show he is up to the job.

Among those who want Biden to withdraw is Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who told CBS News on Monday that “there would be a huge sigh of relief from virtually every Democrat in the House” if the president were to end his campaign.

“We would be better off with another nominee,” Smith said. “I believe that in my heart, my soul, my brain — I believe that 100 percent.”

A recent CBS News poll found that the race shifted slightly toward former President Donald Trump after the July 27 debate. Trump now holds a 3-point lead over Mr. Biden in the swing states and a 2-point lead nationally.

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