White House denies reports of Biden’s Parkinson’s treatments

Amid ongoing criticism of US President Joe Biden’s condition, the White House has denied reports that the 81-year-old is being treated for Parkinson’s disease. The president has neither been treated for the disease nor is he taking medication for it, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday. Meanwhile, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated, with a view to the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, that Biden’s leadership qualities are not being questioned by allies.

“Has the President been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkinson’s? No, he is not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s disease? No,” Jean Pierre stressed in a press conference. The White House later released a letter from Biden’s personal physician, Kevin O’Connor, in which he assured that Biden had not seen a neurologist other than his three annual checkups.

The New York Times had previously reported that neurologist Kevin Cannard, who specializes in Parkinson’s disease, visited the White House eight times between summer 2023 and spring of this year. In addition, these visits are recorded in publicly available visitor logs.

The White House also rejected reports of alleged concerns among NATO partners about Biden’s leadership qualities. He does not believe “that is the case,” National Security Council spokesman Kirby replied to a journalist’s question. “We have not seen any signs of that among our allies.” NATO member states will meet for a summit in Washington starting Tuesday.

Since his disastrous performance in the televised debate with his rival Donald Trump at the end of June, Biden has been faced with an ever-growing debate about his mental suitability for the presidency – even within his own party. Despite the criticism, the 81-year-old, oldest president in US history, says he is “firmly determined” to stay in the race for the presidential election in November.

“It is time for us to come together, move forward as a united party, and defeat Donald Trump,” said the incumbent in a letter to Democratic members of Congress released on Monday. “I would not run for re-election if I did not absolutely believe that I am the best person to defeat Donald Trump in 2024,” the president assured.

His Republican challenger Trump, meanwhile, assumes that Biden will remain in the race for the White House. On the conservative channel Fox News, Trump said that Biden has “an ego and he doesn’t want to quit.” He also teased that the US president looked “extremely pale” in the televised debate, “to put it nicely.”

While Biden will receive NATO allies on Tuesday for a ceremony to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary, the Democrats will hold a parliamentary group meeting to discuss their presidential candidate. In most polls, Biden is currently behind Trump.