Obama’s former doctor says White House avoiding press scrutiny of Biden’s health

President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up after being asked by members of the media how he is feeling as he speaks virtually during a meeting with his economic team in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2022. (G3 Box News Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik/G3 Box News

Obama’s former doctor says White House avoiding press scrutiny of Biden’s health

Katherine Doyle

July 22, 08:40 PM July 22, 08:59 PM

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EXCLUSIVE — Ex-President Barack Obama’s longtime former doctor said the White House may be shielding President Joe Biden’s physician from broader questions about the president’s health following a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Biden’s COVID-19 case comes as prominent Democrats voice unease about his age. At 79, Biden is the oldest person to ever serve as president.

“If you have the physician, you might ask him questions that are straying into different areas, which could be problematic,” said Dr. David Scheiner, who was Obama’s personal physician for more than two decades before he became president, “especially if he wants to run again.”


White House officials have declined repeated requests to make Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, available to reporters since he began treating the president for COVID-19. They insist that providing a daily letter from O’Connor should suffice.

“You’ve heard from the letter. That is hearing directly from him,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday. “We’re not playing telephone here. You’re hearing directly from the physician.”

She demurred when asked whether the White House would make O’Connor available.

“We feel that Dr. O’Connor’s statements and his detailed report … is enough,” Jean-Pierre responded, noting that Biden’s condition “is mild” and that “he is able to continue to do his work.”

The White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, has taken questions alongside Jean-Pierre instead.

A letter from Biden’s physician Friday noted a temperature of 99.4 degrees on Thursday and described his symptoms as a runny nose and fatigue with an occasional “loose” cough. Biden is using an inhaler as needed, he added.

Biden, who suffered two brain aneurysms in 1988, is also taking Paxlovid, an antiviral therapy for the virus, and has stopped the use of his heart medications for the duration.

When former President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, his physician, Dr. Sean Conley, took questions from reporters. Critics said Conley should have notified the public about Trump’s first positive test sooner.

The Biden White House has also been questioned about its transparency regarding the president’s health since testing positive for COVID-19.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner on Friday, Scheiner said Biden had other health concerns that his doctor could be questioned about.

“He’s not aging that well, and he’s had a lot of issues,” Scheiner said. “His gait is not quite the same. … When he starts talking, he wanders off into these things, and it just doesn’t seem to always make sense.”

“He’s not, to say the least, at the top of his game — whatever it was,” he added.

The Chicago doctor also suggested that presidential candidates take neurocognitive tests to ensure they do not have underlying psychological or vascular problems with their brains.

“He’s going to be 80 in November. That doesn’t help,” Scheiner said of Biden. “This is perhaps the most important job in the whole world.”

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Obama rebuked Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-MS) when, as a 2020 congressional candidate, the former White House physician tweeted that Biden needed a cognitive test.

“That’s why I have to express my disappointment at the cheap shot you took at Joe Biden via Twitter,” the former president wrote in an email to Jackson, who had treated him as president. “It was unprofessional and beneath the office that you once held.”

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