President Biden was seen by neurologist Dr. Kevin Cannard, a specialist in Parkinson’s disease, at the White House on January 17, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre admitted late Tuesday, hours after previously denying any such visit during her regular briefing, told The Hill.

The clarification came after Jean-Pierre faced criticism for providing misleading information last week about whether Biden, 81, had undergone medical evaluation following his poor performance in the June 27 debate. Jean-Pierre had previously scolded a journalist for mentioning the press’s frustration over the lack of transparency.

“Because the date was not mentioned in the question, I want to be clear that the January 17 meeting between [presidential physician] Dr. [Kevin] O’Connor and Dr. Cannard was for the president’s physical,” Jean-Pierre told the Associated Press, whose reporter had inquired about Cannard’s meeting with O’Connor. “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,” she added, amid growing Democratic calls for Biden to end his campaign for a second term due to perceived cognitive decline.

Earlier Tuesday, the AP’s Seung Min Kim asked Jean-Pierre, “Can you say whether that one meeting [between Cannard and O’Connor] was related to care for the president himself?” Jean-Pierre replied, “I can say that it was not.”

Cannard visited the White House eight times in as many months between July last year and March this year. According to public visitor logs, these visits were to the residence clinic in the White House basement, rather than the larger medical facility in the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Dr. O’Connor suggested in a Monday night letter that Cannard’s visits were for treating military members.

Cannard’s findings after evaluating Biden were included in a physical report released by O’Connor on February 28, stating that the president underwent an “extremely detailed neurologic exam.” The report concluded: “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.”

Jean-Pierre’s latest disclosure pushes back the date for Biden’s most recent neurological exam, amid ongoing speculation about the president’s cognitive health.

The press secretary’s reversal followed a press corps outcry over her initial refusal to explain Cannard’s visits and her claim last week that Biden had not had “any kind” of medical exam after the debate, where he appeared confused and made remarks such as that he “finally beat Medicare.”

Jean-Pierre also faced tense exchanges with journalists. When CBS’s Ed O’Keefe pressed her about Cannard’s visits to the residence clinic, she retorted, “There’s no reason to go back and forth with me in this aggressive way.” O’Keefe responded, “We’re a little miffed around here about how information has been shared with the press corps about him.”

Later in the briefing, Jean-Pierre defended herself, stating, “The personal attacks are not okay,” and insisted she answers questions to the best of her ability, though she has faced criticism from colleagues for being ill-prepared. This incident underscores the ongoing challenges and scrutiny faced by the White House regarding transparency about the president’s health.



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