White House spox declines to commit to press demands for doctor to answer questions about Biden's mental health

 February 13, 2024

Many Americans have legitimate questions and concerns about the physical and mental health and well-being of President Joe Biden, particularly as he seeks a second four-year term in office.

Yet, the White House was decidedly non-committal on Monday about whether the president's physician would eventually be made available to answer reasonable questions from reporters about those public concerns, the Washington Examiner reported.

The issue has come to a head following the release of a special counsel's investigative report that seemed to question Biden's mental competence as well as polls that highlighted the public's growing doubts about the president's health and capability to effectively lead the nation for another term in the White House.

Biden's mental health called into question

Last week, the final report from Special Counsel Robert Hur's investigation of President Biden's retention of unsecured classified documents in his home and office after leaving office concluded that while he had "willfully" kept the classified materials without authorization, no criminal charges would be pursued in the matter.

The overarching reason for the decision to not bring charges, as laid out throughout the report, was Biden's "faulty memory" and inability to recall the specifics of various important events in his life and career -- such as the death of his son and the dates of his vice presidency -- not to mention the belief that a prospective jury would likely view him as a "a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," and thus would likely decline to convict him in a trial.

That report led to an impromptu press conference hours later by the president in which he angrily and sarcastically sought to rebut the report's revelations but did so rather dishonestly and misleadingly and with multiple errors -- including confusing the presidents of Egypt and Mexico -- that likely only further cemented the public's clear concerns about the status of his mental health and well-being.

Press secretary refuses to give direct answers on Biden's health, whether doctor will answer questions

During Monday's White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked near the end about when the White House physician might come and answer questions about President Biden's physical and mental health, particularly in light of what was revealed in Special Counsel Hur's report.

"So, look, you know, just to speak to the Hur report really, really quickly," Jean-Pierre replied. "Special Counsel Hur is -- as far as I remember, is a -- is a -- obviously, a R- -- a Republican, a -- a prosecutor. He’s not a -- he’s not a medical doctor. He’s just not. It’s not for him to speak to. It’s just not."

She further asserted that, in the view of the White House and other defenders of the president, "the stuff in this report that is capturing all of your attention right now is just wrong -- is flatly wrong. It is inappropriate. It is gratuitous. And so, going to leave that there. And it is obviously up for a medical doctor to decide on that."

Pressed on when reporters might get a chance to speak directly with Biden's doctor, Jean-Pierre dodged the question and said, "Well, look, I have said the Pres- -- the medical doctor, the President’s doctor is going to do a physical. He’s going to -- and he has always put forth, in the last two years, a detailed -- detailed memo on the President’s -- on the President’s, obviously, medical physical. And so, I’m just going to leave it there. I don’t have anything else to add."

Biden's physical and mental health a legitimate concern for most Americans

Earlier in the briefing, Jean-Pierre danced around questions about when President Biden would undergo his next annual physical and whether a cognitive test would be part of the examination administered by the White House physician.

The press secretary's non-committal answers and evasiveness on the topic were glaring in light of a recent NBC News poll which found that upwards of 89% of the American people had some level of concern about "Biden not having the necessary mental and physical health to be president for a second term."

That number included 62% with "major" concerns, 14% with "moderate" concerns, 13% with "minor" concerns, and 11% with "no real concerns" at all about the president's mental health as he seeks another four years in office.

Furthermore, of the combined 76% of Americans with "major" and "moderate" concerns about Biden's health, that number included not just 95% of Republicans but also an astonishing 81% of independents and even 54% of Democrats -- proving this is not a solely partisan issue but one of great import to all Americans across the ideological spectrum that is worthy of a direct, immediate, and transparent response from the White House.

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