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White House rejects health claims; more call for Biden to withdraw

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaking to press Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh

White House rejects health claims; more call for Biden to withdraw

Rep. Adam Smith on Monday became the latest of a half-dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives to withdraw their support from President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. It would be a mistake for Biden to continue his campaign, Smith wrote on social media. The president has shown strong leadership, but it’s clear he is no longer the best candidate, Smith added.

The congressman’s call came after Biden sent a personal letter petitioning Democrats in Congress to stop discussing a potential withdrawal. It’s time for Democrats to unite and end discussions of how to move forward in the election, he wrote. Both Biden and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre last week unequivocally confirmed the president’s intention to stay in the race.

Meanwhile, Democratic members of Congress from Texas to Minnesota have publicly called for a new party candidate after Biden’s poor debate performance. Visitor logs show that Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist specializing in disorders like Parkinson’s disease, visited the White House eight times in eight months last summer into this spring, according to a New York Times report.

White House response? Reporters at a Monday briefing questioned Jean-Pierre about the president’s health. The president has not been treated for Parkinson’s disease and is not taking any medication for the degenerative disease, she said after rebuffing other questions about his health. The White House can’t publicly name any medical specialist who sees the president out of security concerns, she said.

The White House later on Monday released a letter from the presidential physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, insisting that Biden has only seen a neurologist for his annual physical. O’Connor added that Cannard has seen patients at the White House for over a decade and implied his frequent visits pertained to other patients.

Dig deeper: Read my report on Democratic governors pledging their support for Biden after a closed-door meeting at the White House last week.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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