Biden’s Physician Explains Away Parkinson’s Doc’s White House Visits (2024)

Christopher Gavin

·4-min read

The Biden administration released a late-night letter on Monday presenting an explanation for the eight visits quietly made to the White House in as many months by an expert in Parkinson’s disease.

The letter was put out just hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stonewalled reporters attempting to ask questions about the matter.

“I am just not going to do that,” Jean-Pierre said, repeatedly citing “security” and “privacy” reasons. “It is inappropriate. It is not acceptable.”

The questions came on the heels of a New York Post report published Saturday that found Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist at Walter Reed Medical Center, visited President Joe Biden’s residence at the White House in January.

The New York Times reported Monday that Cannard’s name appears in logs eight times in eight months between July 2023 and this past March. Any visits since then cannot be released, as per protocol under the White House’s voluntary disclosure policy, according to the Times.

The Monday night letter, attributed to White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, states that Cannard does not examine the president every time he goes to the White House. Instead, the doctor, a neurology consultant to the White House medical office since 2012, regularly holds clinics for other people at the White House.

“Prior to the pandemic, and following its end,” O’Connor noted, “he has held regular neurology clinics at the White House Medical Clinic in support of the thousands of active-duty members assigned in support of White House operations.”

O’Connor did say, however, that Cannard has examined Biden one a year since taking office in 2020 as part of a regular checkup. The last examination uncovered no evidence of Parkinson’s, he added.

“President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical,” O’Connor wrote.

The doctor’s written remarks confirm part of what Jean-Pierre had said during the press conference earlier on Monday. She told reporters that Biden had met with a neurologist three times in three years, including one as recently as February, which yielded “no findings” consistent with neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s.

Jean-Pierre confirmed during her remarks that Biden has never and is not currently being treated for Parkinson’s. He also is not taking any medication typically used to treat the disorder.

Biden has a verbal check-in with his medical team “a couple of times a week,” she added.

But the press secretary repeatedly declined to acknowledge the specifics of Cannard’s recorded visits over the past year, citing respect for the doctor’s privacy.

“There are thousands of military personnel who come onto this White House. Many of them get the care from the White House medical unit, and so we need to be super careful,” she said.

“The Medical Unit hosts a wide range of specialists, from dermatologists to neurologists, and so I cannot speak to every person because there are actually security reasons to protect their privacy,” she added. “We respect and protect people’s privacy so ... I’m not going to share people’s names from here.”

At one particularly contentious point during the presser, CBS News’ senior White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe fired back, lamenting the responses to what he described as a “very basic, direct question” about whether Cannard’s visits had anything to do with Biden.

Things are very heated at The White House Briefing pic.twitter.com/lbz0nJCs67

— Acyn (@Acyn) July 8, 2024

“It doesn’t matter how hard you push me, it doesn’t matter how angry you get with me. I’m not going to confirm a name,” Jean-Pierre said. “It doesn't matter if it’s even in the log. I am not going to do that from here.”

Cannard, who recently published a paper on Parkinson’s, did not respond to the Times’ or the New York Post’s requests for comment about his visits. The logs do not indicate if he met with Biden or was visiting the White House for other reasons.

Some online profiles for Cannard describe him as a doctor who has worked in a “supporting” role to the White House Medical Unit for 12. years. He made 10 visits to the White House in 2012 when Barack Obama was in office. His visits during Donald Trump’s presidency are unknown because Trump rescinded the policy for disclosing visitor logs.

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Biden’s Physician Explains Away Parkinson’s Doc’s White House Visits (2024)
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