Light Wave


White House Denies Biden Has Alzheimer’s, Defends Debate Performance

By Jake Beardslee · July 2, 2024

In the wake of President Biden's widely criticized debate performance against former President Donald Trump, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed mounting concerns about the president's cognitive health. During Tuesday's press briefing, Jean-Pierre firmly denied that Biden suffers from any degenerative illness.  The White House / Wikimedia

When asked directly if the 81-year-old president has Alzheimer's, dementia, or any other condition that might explain his recent public struggles, Jean-Pierre responded, "Are you ready for it? It's a no. And I hope you're asking the other guy the same exact question," according to The Independent.  Jack Gruber, Jack Gruber / USA TODAY NETWORK

The press secretary spent much of the briefing fielding questions about Biden's fitness for office. She repeatedly characterized the president's debate showing as "a bad night," attributing it partly to a cold he had been battling. Jean-Pierre emphasized, "We understand the concerns. We get it — the president did not have a great night, as you all know."  Jack Gruber/USA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite acknowledging the poor performance, Jean-Pierre defended Biden's capabilities, stating, "He knows how to do the job. He knows right from wrong. He knows how to tell the truth, and again, he knows how to deliver for the American people."  The White House / Wikimedia

The press secretary also addressed concerns about transparency regarding the president's health. When asked if anyone in the White House was concealing information about Biden's health or his ability to perform his duties, Jean-Pierre responded, "Absolutely not."  The White House / Wikimedia

She commented on the administration's release of comprehensive medical reports from Biden's annual checkups, though she declined to commit to releasing additional records beyond the summary made public earlier this year. Jean-Pierre also noted that Biden's medical team had determined a cognitive test "was not warranted" for the president.  The White House / Wikimedia

The briefing came on the same day that Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) became the first elected Democratic official to call for Biden to withdraw from the presidential race, according to PBS News. Doggett expressed disappointment in Biden's debate performance, stating, "Instead of reassuring voters, the president failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump's many lies."  Jay Janner / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

While acknowledging the concerns over Biden's age and mental acuity, Jean-Pierre maintained that the administration would "continue to do the work that we have been doing on behalf of the American people."  The White House / Wikimedia