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

Washington — The White House released a letter from President Biden’s doctor Monday night after press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced repeated questions at a briefing earlier in the day about Mr. Biden’s health and whether visits to the White House by a Parkinson’s disease specialist involved the president.

White House visit records, details of which were first reported by the New York Post and The New York Times, show that Parkinson’s disease specialist Dr. Kevin Cannard visited the White House eight times between last summer and this spring. The records show that Cannard met with Mr. Biden’s personal physician at least once.

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

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

But at the time, the press secretary refused to confirm the doctor’s visits, citing “security reasons.”

It led to a tense exchange between Jean-Pierre and reporters. It came as the president stands firm in the face of critics who have urged him to end his re-election campaign after a disastrous campaign. debate performance 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, during his physical, the president consults a neurologist,” she explained. “That’s three times.”

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

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

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

“For security reasons, we cannot release names,” the press secretary said. “We cannot release names of specialists in a broad sense, from a dermatologist to a neurologist.”

CBS News stressed that the visits were public information, but Jean-Pierre said she could not confirm the visits because “we have to keep them confidential.”

“No matter how hard you push me. No matter how angry you are with me. I’m not going to confirm a name. It doesn’t matter if it’s even on the registry,” 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, in which he said he had obtained permission 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 were made public each time I released the results of the President’s annual physical. President Biden did not see a neurologist outside of his annual physical,” O’Connor wrote, noting that Cannard has been the neurology consultant for the White House Medical Unit since 2012.

“The results of this year’s exam “A very detailed neurological examination was again reassuring in that there were no findings consistent with any 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 made regular visits to the White House Medical Unit “to support the thousands of active duty military personnel assigned to support White House operations. Many military personnel suffer from neurological conditions related to their service, and Dr. Cannard regularly visits WHMU as part of his general neurology practice.”

The president, determined to stay in the race, has gone on the offensive in recent days.

Since the debate, Mr. Biden has been trying to prove he can do the job for another four years, participating in a number of interviews, campaign events And raise awareness to Democrats and top donors in an effort to bolster their support.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said in a phone interview Monday with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I wouldn’t be running if I wasn’t absolutely convinced that I was the best candidate to beat Donald Trump in 2024. We had a Democratic nominating process in which the voters spoke clearly.”

In a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday, Mr. Biden said he was “firmly committed” to continue his campaign and called for a debate on whether he has a path forward to achieve this.

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

“Joe made it clear that he was committed to his decision,” she said. “That’s the decision he made, and just like he’s always supported my career, I’m committed to my decision as well.”

Although several House Democrats called for his withdrawal from the raceMany have said they still support him. No Democratic senator has publicly called on the president to step down, though some have urged him to do more to show he is up to the task.

Among those who want Mr. Biden to step down is Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who told CBS News on Monday, “There would be a huge sigh of relief from almost every Democrat in the House” if the president ended his campaign.

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

A recent CBS News Poll Polls showed the White House race shifted slightly in favor of former President Donald Trump after the July 27 debate. Trump now has a 3-point lead over Biden in key battleground states and a 2-point lead nationally.

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