‘We are fully committed to transparency’: White House rejects criticism of not making Biden’s doctor available to the press and insists administration officials will be available – including Fauci
- The White House is pushing back on criticism from journalists questioning why President Joe Biden’s doctor isn’t addressing the press
- ‘We are fully committed to transparency here,’ White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on CNN Friday morning
- CNN’s John Berman then asked Jha to confirm that there were no plans to have Physician to the President, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, speak directly to the press
- Jha said O’Connor would be ‘sharing the information’ and reporters would be hearing from him and top medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci
The White House is pushing back on criticism from journalists questioning why President Joe Biden’s doctor isn’t addressing the press while the president has COVID-19.
‘We are fully committed to transparency here. You’re going to hear every day from Dr. O’Connor through written communication,’ said White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha on CNN Friday morning.
Jha added ‘we’re all in pretty constant contact speaking to each other.’
‘I’ll be speaking to the president every day. That combination means that the American people will have a very full, complete picture of how the president is doing,’ he said.
CNN’s John Berman then asked Jha to confirm that there were no plans to have Physician to the President, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, speak directly to the press.
‘You know, Dr. O’Connor is going to be sharing his information,’ Jha answered, adding the public could expect to hear from him and Biden’s top medical expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. ‘So I think you’re going to hear from a variety of us.’
CNN’s John Berman (left) asked White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha (right) why Physician to the President, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, wasn’t speaking publicly about President Joe Biden’s COVID condition
Instead, O’Connor has been sending out letters documenting Biden’s COVID case to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who has then passed them along to the public
Jha said that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, would also be speaking publicly about Biden’s COVID-19 diagnosis
During Thursday’s White House briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was told by longtime White House correspondent George Condon of the National Journal that the Biden administration was going against precedent by not having Biden’s doctor directly address the room.
‘Neither of you has seen the president today,’ Condon told Jean-Pierre and Jha. ‘Neither of you is treating the president.’
‘The question is: When will Dr. O’Connor come out? Because to just put out a statement and shield him from questions would be the least [amount of] transparency of any White House in 50 years on a presidential illness,’ the reporter said.
Jean-Pierre reacted with a ‘wow.’
‘I wholeheartedly disagree on your last statement. Wholeheartedly disagree on your last statement,’ she answered.
‘So, we are doing this very differently – very differently than, I would argue, than the last administration. And I am happy to have that conversation with you,’ she added.
During former President Donald Trump’s hospitalization for COVID in October 2020, then Physician to the President Dr. Sean Conley did brief reporters outside Walter Reed.
Conley, however, presented Trump’s condition in better light than White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to reporters just moments later.
Meadows, who tried to go ‘on-background’ with journalists – meaning he wouldn’t be identified by name – even though he was photograhed talking to them, said Trump went through a ‘very concerning’ period the day after testing positive, and faced a ‘critical’ next two days in his COVID fight.
‘We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,’ Meadows said.
Conley also refused to answer a number of questions, including whether Trump needed supplemental oxygen, and how high the Republican president’s fever ran.
Trump caught COVID before vaccines were rolled out.
His age and weight put him at higher risk for severe disease.
Trump was treated with remdesivir and Regeneron’s experimental antibody treatment.
In February 2021, The New York Times released an investigation that found that Trump had been far sicker from COVID than the White House let on.
Meadows’ book also revealed the Trump tested positive for COVID prior to his first debate against Biden – which was two days before the White House announced a positive test.
Later, Meadows said he believed that early positive test was a false positive.