Biden Is Not Being Treated for Parkinson’s, White House Says after NYT Report

REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt
A view of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 8, 2024.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden is not being treated for Parkinson’s disease, the White House said on Monday, after the New York Times reported that visitor logs showed a doctor specializing in the illness visited the White House at least eight times from August through March.

Concerns that the president might be suffering from an undisclosed illness have risen since Biden stumbled, appearing frail and losing his train of thought at times, in his June 27 debate against Republican Donald Trump.

“Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkinson’s? No, he’s not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing.

Biden is battling criticism from some Democrats that he lacks the mental acuity to stand as their nominee against Trump in the Nov. 5 presidential election.

A Reuters review of White House visitor logs showed that Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist and movement disorders specialist from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, visited the White House eight times from August through March. Cannard has co-authored research on treatment for early Parkinson’s disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Cannard met with White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor at the White House in mid-January, the logs showed. Cannard’s visits to the White House were first reported by The New York Post on July 6.

One former White House official, who worked for Biden when he was vice president under President Barack Obama and as president, was treated by the same doctor for migraines in 2016, the former official told Reuters. The doctor came to the White House once a month then as part of his rotation, the individual said.

Jean-Pierre refused to confirm or elaborate on Cannard’s visits. At the media briefing, she was frequently challenged by reporters and said she wanted to respect the privacy of all involved for security reasons.

She said Biden had seen a neurologist three times connected to his annual physical exam. She did not explain Cannard’s presence at the White House but suggested it might be connected to treating some of the military personnel who work at the White House complex.

“There are thousands of military personnel that come to the White House and they are under the care of the medical unit,” she said.