2024 Election Updates: Biden Asks Democrats to ‘Challenge Me at the Convention’

A Parkinson’s disease expert from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House eight times in eight months from last summer through this spring, including at least once to meet with President Biden’s physician, official visitor logs show.

The expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, is a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and recently published a paper on Parkinson’s disease. The logs, released by the White House in response to a request from The New York Times, document visits from July 2023 through March of this year. More recent visits, if any, would not be released until later under the White House’s voluntary disclosure policy.

It was unclear whether Dr. Cannard was at the White House to consult specifically about the president or whether he was there as part of unrelated meetings with the White House medical team. Dr. Cannard’s LinkedIn page describes him as a “support officer of the White House Medical Unit” for more than 12 years, including during the administrations of Presidents Donald J. Trump and Barack Obama.

Dr. Cannard did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The White House did not comment specifically on the purpose of his visits. “A wide variety of specialists from the Walter Reed System visit the White House complex to treat the thousands of service members who work on the grounds,” Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said in a statement.

Mr. Bates said the president has been “seen by a neurologist once a year” as part of his general annual physical and “that exam has found no signs of Parkinson’s and he is not being treated for it.” He declined to provide dates of meetings between Mr. Biden and any of his specialists, but said “there have been no neurologist visits other than the one for his annual physical, a total of three.”

Dr. Cannard met with Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, on Jan. 17, as well as Dr. John Atwood, a cardiologist at Walter Reed, and another person in the early evening at the White House clinic, the logs showed. That meeting came a month before Mr. Biden had his most recent annual physical at Walter Reed on Feb. 28.

In a six-page letter released after that review, Dr. O’Connor said the president’s medical team had conducted “an extremely detailed neurological examination” that “produced no findings consistent with” Parkinson’s disease, stroke or other central neurological disorders. Dr. O’Connor did not say whether the examination included common tests to assess cognitive decline or detect signs of dementia that are often recommended for older adults.

The White House has said in recent days that there has been no reason to investigate further since February. Questions about Mr. Biden’s health, and specifically his Parkinson’s disease, have mounted since his disastrous performance in the June 27 debate against Mr. Trump. In interviews with ABC News on Friday and MSNBC on Monday, Mr. Biden said he undergoes the equivalent of a neurological exam every day because of the pressures of presidential duties.

The visitor logs, which have also been reported by other news organizations including The New York Post and The Guardian, showed that Dr. Cannard’s first recorded visit to the White House during the Biden administration was on Nov. 15, 2022. The records show he was visiting Joshua Simmons, whose title is not listed.

Dr. Cannard’s eight most recent visits began on July 28, 2023, when he was listed as meeting with Megan Nasworthy, a White House liaison to Walter Reed. She was listed as the person visited for seven of those meetings, which consistently occurred early in the morning, between 7 and 9 a.m. on Fridays, with the exception of the final meeting, which occurred on Thursday, March 28, the day before Good Friday. The logs list a 10th visit that appeared to be for a family tour of the White House.

Around the time of the first meetings, Dr. Cannard published a research article in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders on the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

A number of neurologists who have not personally examined Mr. Biden said they had observed symptoms in his public appearances consistent with Parkinson’s or a related condition, including hypophonic speech, a hunched posture, a shuffling gait, a masked face and irregular speech patterns. But they stressed that no specific diagnosis could be made without a firsthand examination.

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, previously told The Times that Dr. O’Connor had found no reason to reevaluate Mr. Biden for Parkinson’s disease since his physical exam in February. Mr. Bates also said the president had shown no signs of Parkinson’s and had never taken levodopa or other medications for the condition.

In his interview with ABC News on Friday, Biden refused to consent to an independent neurological and cognitive exam. “I get a cognitive test every day,” he said, implying that the extraordinary challenges of the presidency were effectively testing him daily.

When Biden called into MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday morning, he again insisted that his confusion and faltering performance during the debate were an aberration due in part to an infection or other minor ailment, and not a sign of a larger medical problem.

“If there was something wrong that night, it’s not like it comes and it’s one night and then it goes away,” he said. “That’s why I went out. I tested myself, everywhere I go. Went out and pleaded my case. The night of that debate, I went out. I was out until 2 a.m. that same night. That same night. It drives me crazy, people talking about this.”

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