During a briefing at the White House Thursday afternoon, Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre and Biden COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jah were repeatedly asked when Americans will hear directly from Dr. Kevin O'Connor about President Joe Biden's current battle with the virus. Dr. O'Connor is Biden's longtime personal physician and was hired as Physician to the President last year.
REPORTER: "Can we get the president's physician here so we can not play the game of telephone?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 21, 2022
KJP: "I don't think this is a game of telephone..." pic.twitter.com/hEoMIWsEUu
Karine Jean-Pierre was NOT happy when National Journal's George Condon said "shield[ing] him from questions would be the least transparency of any WH in 50 years on a presidential illness."— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 21, 2022
KJP: "Wow. I wholeheartedly disagree...We are doing this very differently" from Trump pic.twitter.com/zrkbHQQQYV
Dr. O'Connor issued a letter Thursday morning with details about Biden's symptoms but won't be made available for direct questioning by reporters.
"On questioning, President Biden is currently experiencing mild symptoms, mostly rhinorrhea (or 'runny nose') and fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening. Given that he meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) criteria for PAXLOVID, I have recommended initiating such treatment," Dr. O'Connor wrote. "The President is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, so I anticipate that he will respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do. Early use of PAXLOVID in this case provides additional protection against severe disease. He will isolate in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. I will keep your office updated with any changes in his condition or treatment plan."
Jean-Pierre also failed to answer questions about when Biden started isolating. She refused to clarify whether it was when he started having symptoms Wednesday night or after he tested positive Thursday morning. She repeatedly stated the positive test was a result of Biden's regular testing regimen.
Nope. The White House can't have KJP playing public health official here.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) July 21, 2022
Get the media access to Biden's doctor now. This is unacceptable. https://t.co/Ha7Hq0VdDQ
When pressed about where Biden contracted the virus, especially given repeated claims he carefully follows CDC guidance, Jean-Pierre said it "doesn't matter."
Karine Jean-Pierre says that it doesn't matter from where or how Biden contracted COVID. pic.twitter.com/tF88x7FmU3— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 21, 2022