With President Biden suffering from COVID-19 and now from a rebound case, the White House physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, got a little press–mainly because his communication with the public only consisted of daily letters updating the people on the president’s condition. During daily press briefings, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus response coordinator, never told us why Dr. O’Connor did not brief reporters.
Jha told us about Biden finishing his pudding cups, er, I mean dinner and other various anecdotes. However, there was no official medical update from his personal physician. Even Politico noticed and reported:
Behind the scenes, White House and administration officials say that it’s part of a communications strategy to focus attention away from the 79-year-old president being sick and toward the administration’s larger pandemic response. Plus, they argue that a briefing by the physician isn’t necessary when the president’s symptoms are mild.
The authors also provided some anecdotes from President Biden’s memoir about Dr. O’Connor. Though beloved by Biden, the good doctor has a history of being blunt. When Beau Biden was diagnosed with brain cancer, and Jill Biden asked the doctor what facility would be best to go to, he reportedly said, “If it’s The Monster, it doesn’t matter where we go.” In another case, when he implored then-Vice President Biden to cancel a trip to South Africa, Biden recalled O’Connor saying, “I know this is important, sir, but you have pneumonia. And right now, you look like sh*t. I can’t make you not look like sh*t.”
One Biden aide also told the outlet, “He tells a joke a minute, and a funny one every four minutes.” Perhaps these personal quirks are why his reports have been confined to written letters. However, for someone so blunt, an interview unearthed by Politico seems a little off.
Earlier this year, O’Connor gave an interview to the Federation of State Medical Boards. The chunky Irish doctor reported being addicted to Peloton when the interviewer asked him about wellness. Then, when asked about where he planned to be in five or ten years, O’Connor responded, “Yeah, but yeah, five years, of course, I’ll be taking care of President Biden, who will be comfortably in his second term after capably winning his election. I’m teasing, but no, I will, you know, let that decide my fate there.” He went on to say that after 10 years, he intends to stay in medicine, teach, and treat patients.
How in the world can any capable physician look at the decline in the president’s speech, mobility, and cognition and even joke that he will be capable of reelection in 2024? Especially one with a history of being blunt? Of course, this is not the first time O’Connor has glossed over the obvious cognitive decline in his boss.
During Biden’s annual physical, the portly Peloton devotee bent himself into pretzels to find other causes for the president’s awkward gait and other issues. I wrote at the time:
The most infuriating part of the exam is related to Biden’s cognitive abilities. His physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, goes to great lengths to explain the apparent changes to how the president moves when he walks, also called his gait. A person’s gait is generally not something they attend to consciously. However, neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s, strokes, and various forms of dementia can cause alterations in the way a person walks. Speed, fluidity, and the natural swing of the arms are a few examples of how a person’s gait may change.
O’Connor has been Biden’s primary physician since 2009. The idea that he can’t note significant changes in how Biden walks over the past 12 months and is utterly oblivious to the other symptoms of cognitive decline is absurd. The “detailed investigations” of Biden’s gait included hunting for everything other than the obvious issue of a progressive cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The report never mentioned the cognitive issues.
The “blunt” doctor chalked it up to age-related changes in Biden’s spine and never had him evaluated for cognitive function. Perhaps a physician this oblivious (or dishonest) really believes this farce can carry on for another term. On the other hand, Americans deserve to know who is running the executive branch of our government. And no one, with the possible exception of Dr. O’Connor, believes it is President Biden.