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President Biden's doctor explains why Parkinson's expert showed up to the White House numerous times

The White House says visits were tied to neurology clinics intended for active duty military members who serve at the White House.
Joe Biden
Posted at 6:17 AM, Jul 09, 2024

After reports surfaced on Monday that a neurologist specializing in Parkinson's disease made repeated visits to the White House in recent months, the Biden administration offered an explanation late Monday.

The explanation comes as President Joe Biden faces continued questions on his mental acuity as several Democratic lawmakers have called on the president to exit the 2024 presidential race.

In a letter from Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who serves as the physician to the president, he said neurologist Dr. Kevin Cannard made numerous visits to the White House campus in his capacity in the White House Medical Unit.

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O'Connor said many of the visits were part of neurology clinics intended for active duty military members who serve at the White House.

"Prior to the pandemic, and following its end, 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 wrote. "Many military personnel experience neurological issues related to their service, and Dr. Cannard regularly visits the WHMU as part of this General Neurology practice. We value the contributions he has made across the many patients he has treated in support of the White House and its personnel over these years."

Neurologist's exam of Biden

According to O'Connor, President Biden has not been seen by a neurologist outside of his annual exam. O'Connor said Cannard was among the specialists who examined President Biden during his annual physical. The results of Biden's latest physical were released in February.

"An extremely detailed neurologic 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," O'Connor wrote on Feb. 28 about President Biden's health.

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On Monday, The New York Times reported Cannard made eight visits to the White House over the course of eight months, according to visitor logs.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday that Biden is not being treated for Parkinson's disease.

What happens next

President Biden has vowed to stay in the race in multiple interviews. He also has had the backing of many Democratic leaders, despite a concerning performance at last month's presidential debate.

But members of Congress are returning to Capitol Hill after the July Fourth break. Congressional Democrats are set to meet Tuesday as part of their regularly scheduled caucus meeting.

Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu delivered a news conference Tuesday afternoon, where they offered their tempered support for President Biden after meeting with colleagues.

Aguilar said Democrats are committed to defeating former President Donald Trump, adding, "Right now President Biden is the nominee, and we support the Democratic nominee."