Neurologist's Frequent Visits to White House Draw Scrutiny

Media exchanges with White House press secretary get 'testy' at daily briefing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
Neurologist's Frequent Visits to White House Draw Scrutiny
President Joe Biden smiles as he is asked questions by members of the media as he and first lady Jill Biden return on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Sunday, July 7, 2024, after attending events in Pennsylvania.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and is an expert on Parkinson's disease was at the White House eight times in eight months between July 2023 and March 2024. The New York Times confirmed the visits as documented on visitor logs released by the White House; more recent visitor logs won't be released until later. The White House then confirmed Monday that Dr. Kevin Cannard has evaluated President Biden three times as part of the president's annual physicals, and that his visits to the White House have been primarily for other staffers, the Washington Post reports. More:

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced "intense" questioning about Cannard's visits during Monday's daily press briefing, the Hill reports. She would not name the doctor, nor would she confirm any details about who he was at the White House to see, citing privacy concerns. She did, however, explicitly state that Biden is not being treated for Parkinson's disease. The president's most recent physical, which took place in February, found no evidence of any neurological ailments.

  • Among the recent visitor logs is one indicating Cannard met with Dr. Kevin O'Connor, Biden's main physician, as well as a cardiologist at the White House in January. As for why that might have been, all Jean-Pierre would say was, "Dr. O'Connor leads the medical unit." More on the press briefing, which is said to have gotten "testy" at times, here.
  • O'Connor also commented on Cannard's visits, and suggested, as Jean-Pierre also did, that many of his visits were related to other staffers. "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," he said.
  • Three former White House medical unit members seemed to back that up, saying Cannard was often called to treat migraines.
  • Per Cannard's LinkedIn page, he has been an on-call neurologist for the White House since 2012, and records from the Obama administration show he made multiple visits per year to the White House during that time. During the Trump administration the visitor disclosure policy was revoked, so visitor logs are not available, but Cannard's profiles indicate he continued to support the White House medical team for that period.
  • Meanwhile, Jill Biden on Monday declared herself "all in" on her husband's reelection campaign. "For all the talk out there about this race, Joe has made it clear that he's all in," she told a military crowd during a campaign stop in North Carolina. "That's the decision that he's made, and just as he has always supported my career, I am all in, too."
(More President Biden 2024 stories.)

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