In a heated exchange at Monday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced off with CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe over the repeated visits of a Parkinson’s disease expert to the White House. This comes amid growing scrutiny of Joe Biden’s mental health.

 

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Recent reports, initially from the New York Post, revealed that Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s disease from Walter Reed Military Medical Center, had met several times with Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, over the past year. Despite Cannard’s name appearing in public visitor logs, Jean-Pierre repeatedly refused to confirm these visits, citing security and privacy concerns.

 

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When pressed by Ed O’Keefe, Jean-Pierre responded, “It’s a very basic, direct question,” O’Keefe shouted. “That’s what you should be able to answer by this point.”

 

“No, no, no, no, no,” Jean-Pierre immediately pushed back. “Ed, please. A little respect here. Please.”

 

“So every year around the president’s physical examination, he sees a neurologist. That’s three times, right? So I am telling you that he has seen a neurologist three times while he has been in this presidency. That’s what I’m saying,” Jean-Pierre continued. “I’m telling you that he has seen him three times. That is what I’m sharing with you, right? So every time he has a physical, he has had to see a neurologist. So that is answering that question.”

 

O’Keefe wasn’t satisfied. “No, it’s not,” he insisted. “Has Dr. Kevin Cannard come to the White House specifically about the president’s condition?”

 

“Ed, I also said to you for security reasons, we cannot share names. We cannot share names,” Jean-Pierre reiterated. “We cannot share names of specialists broadly from our dermatologist to neurologist. We cannot share names. There are security reasons-”

 

“They’re on the visitors log. It’s public,” O’Keefe countered. “I looked at it before I got here. It’s right there for anyone to see.”

 

 

“Ed, I hear you,” Jean-Pierre responded. “I cannot, from here, confirm any of that because we have to keep their privacy. I think they would appreciate that, too.”

 

With assistance from NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, who noted that Cannard’s visits are public, Jean-Pierre attempted to shut down the confrontation. “There’s no reason to go back and forth with me in this aggressive way,” she scolded the reporters.

 

“Well, we are miffed around here about what has been shared with the press corps about him,” O’Keefe expressed frustration.

 


Jean-Pierre fired back, “What are you miffed about?”

 

“Everything he just asked about,” O’Keefe pointed to Miller, referencing the lack of clarity on Biden’s recent medical consultations.

 

Jean-Pierre held firm, stating, “I am telling you right now that I am not sharing, confirming names from here. It is a security reason. I am not going to do that, Ed. It doesn’t matter how hard you push me, it doesn’t matter how angry you get with me. I’m not going to confirm a name. It doesn’t matter if it’s even in the log. I am not going to do that from here. That is not something I am going to do.”

 

She concluded, “What I can share with you is that the president has seen a neurologist for his physical three times, three times, and it is in the reporting that we share a comprehensive reporting. As a matter of fact, it’s more than what the last guy shared. And it is in line with what George W. Bush did. It’s in line with what Obama did. And so it is comprehensive. It is out there. I just read a quote from it, but I am not, I am not going to devolve somebody’s name in or confirm someone. I’m not going to do that. It doesn’t matter how hard you push me, it doesn’t matter how angry you get with me from here. I’m just not going to do that. It is inappropriate. It is not acceptable. So I’m not going to do it.”

 

 

Jean-Pierre also took a moment to address her heated exchange with O’Keefe, saying, “I just want to take a step back for a second because I do take offense to what Ed alluded to. You know, I come out here every day there’s a press briefing, and we do our best to give you the information that we have at the time. That’s what we do. And we understand that the freedom of the press, we respect the freedom of the press. You heard me talk about this last week. I appreciate the back and forth that we all have. I try to respect you and hope you try to respect me. And we literally do everything that we can- my team does everything that we can to make sure we get the answers to you. That’s what we do.”

 

“And sometimes we disagree. Sometimes, we are not in agreement. But you know what, that’s democracy. That is what is important, to have that healthy back and forth. And so, to say that I’m holding information or allude to anything else is not [fair]. It’s really, really unfair,” she continued.

 

“I think people who are watching, have been watching this briefing for this past week could say that we are doing our best in this briefing to provide the information that we have. And I will admit, I will be the first one to admit sometimes I get it wrong. At least I admit that. At least I admit that. And sometimes I don’t have the information. And I will always, always admit that. But I do take offense to what was just happening at the beginning of this briefing. It’s not okay,” she added.

 

As O’Donnell explained the press’s intent to gain clarity, Jean-Pierre concluded, “Yeah. But the personal attacks are not okay.”