Latest News 10-07-2024 17:02 8 Views

White House corrects record on Biden’s physician, Parkinson’s expert meeting, says it was for president’s care

The White House is playing cleanup after press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that a meeting between White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor and Dr. Kevin Cannard, a renowned neurological and Parkinson's disease expert, was not related to care for President Biden. 

The White House now says the Jan. 17 meeting between O’Connor and Cannard at the White House was for a neurological exam of Biden, the results of which were later reported as part of his annual physical more than a month later. O'Connor reported the results on Feb. 28, stating that an 'extremely detailed neurological exam' did not show Biden had signs of Parkinson's or any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder.

At Tuesday's White House press briefing, a reporter for The Associated Press asked for clarification on a letter sent Monday night by O’Connor. 

'It didn't seem to explicitly describe the nature of Dr. Cannard's meeting with Dr. O'Connor. So can you say whether that one meeting was related to care for the president himself?' the reporter asked. 

'I can say that it was not,' Jean-Pierre said. 

Jean-Pierre insisted she had already confirmed from 'behind this lectern' that three meetings occurred and that the doctor was a 'neurologist,' though not Cannard's name until O'Connor released it Monday. 

She said she needed permission from Cannard and also from the president before putting that information out. 

'And the reason why is because we do not share private information. That is something that we respect. And we wanted to make sure that we protected our consultants here that work with the White House medical unit, their security as well,' she told reporters from the podium Tuesday. 

In a later statement, Jean-Pierre said the question did not mention the date, which apparently caused her confusion. However, the question was about the meeting between O'Connor and Cannard, and according to the visitor logs, it was the only meeting between the two between July 2023 and this past March – a period that has come under scrutiny because Cannard had visited the White House eight times in that time frame.

The other seven visits by Cannard have Megan Nasworthy listed as the visitee.

'Because the date was not mentioned in the question, I want to be clear that the January 17th meeting between Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Cannard was for the President’s physical. 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 statement said. 

Fox News is told Jean-Pierre proactively followed up with the AP to volunteer the information. 

That statement is not the first time in the days following Biden’s debate debacle – which triggered a new round of concerns about the 81-year-old president’s fitness to serve – that the White House has had to later clarify answers to questions about the president’s health.

Last week, Jean-Pierre said Biden 'did not get checked out by the doctor' for a cold that was noticeable during the June 27 debate. However, Biden later said in a private meeting with Democratic governors that he had been checked out by his doctor after the debate concluded. Jean-Pierre said she meant Biden did not get a full medical exam and that the president did indeed have a 'check-in' with his doctor, which he does a couple of times a week.

Additionally, on Monday night, the White House released a statement from O’Connor describing the nature of Cannard’s visits to the White House after Jean-Pierre earlier in the day declined to confirm the name of the doctor or say why he was going to the White House. It also confirmed that Cannard had been the neurologist who had examined Biden in his three physicals during his presidency. Jean-Pierre contended on Tuesday that 'a lot of the things I said right here in this briefing room' were later restated in the letter from O’Connor on Monday night.

Still, Jean-Pierre said this week that 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.'

Jean-Pierre’s clarification also shows how parts of the president’s annual physical, which is generally conducted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, can be performed over a longer period rather than just one day at the suburban Maryland hospital.

When O’Connor released the results of Biden’s physical on Feb. 28, he wrote that 'an extremely detailed neurological exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be 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.' The letter had not stated when the neurological exam had been conducted or where it took place.

The repeated presence of Cannard in the White House visitors logs also attracted attention because of the doctor’s expertise in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. However, Jean-Pierre definitively said this week that Biden has not been treated for Parkinson’s disease, nor is he being treated currently or taking medication for it.

Cannard has been the neurology consultant to the White House medical unit for a dozen years. O’Connor also said in a letter released Monday night that Cannard has held regular neurology clinics at the White House 'in support of the thousands of active-duty members assigned in support of White House operations.'

Fox News' Patrick Ward and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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