Joe Biden and His Doctor Hide from Public View After Coronavirus Infection

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden departs the Oval Office and walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House July 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden is traveling to Somerset, Massachusetts to discuss his next steps in addressing climate change. He is scheduled …
Drew Angerer/Getty

The White House is carefully controlling the optics of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus infection after he tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning.

The president has not appeared in public since his infection, choosing instead to publish carefully staged and edited photos and videos on social media created by his White House staff.

The president has not appeared in front of the press pool that monitors his activity or been filmed by outside media cameras.

The White House released a video of Biden speaking to the camera, expressing confidence about his health despite getting infected.

“I’ve been double vaccinated, double boosted, the symptoms are mild,” Biden said, urging his supporters to “keep the faith.”

“I’m doing well, I’m getting a lot of work done, I’m going to continue to get it done,” he said.

The White House indicated the staff-published videos were enough to reassure the public about the president’s health.

“You saw a picture of the president. You saw a video of the president. And so we are doing this very differently,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday during a press briefing.

The White House said Biden was able to appear on camera despite his infection, thanks to a White House staffer filming the president while wearing a N95 mask and remaining socially distanced from the president.

The White House on Friday published another photo of the president from Thursday signing the FORMULA Act into law. The president wore a mask as a staff photographer took his picture.

Despite a historical precedent of presidential physicians briefing the public about the president’s health, the White House appeared reluctant to make Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor available for questions.

Jean-Pierre appeared annoyed when reporters expressed frustration at what appeared to be a game of “telephone,” where key details about the president’s health were obscured or left unanswered.

“I don’t think this is a game of telephone,” she replied.

Veteran White House reporter George Condon challenged the White House for their lack of transparency, noting neither Jean Pierre nor Dr. Jha had either seen or treated the president since he tested positive for the virus.

“The question is: When will Dr. O’Connor come out?” Condon asked. “Because to just put out a statement and shield him from questions would be the least transparency of any White House in 50 years on a presidential illness.”

Jean-Pierre bristled at the question.

“Wow, I wholeheartedly disagree on your last statement,” she said. “So, we are doing this very differently — very differently than, I would argue, than the last administration.”

Former President Donald Trump appeared multiple times in front of the media after contracting coronavirus, even as he traveled to Walter Reed hospital and later in a presidential SUV to thank supporters outside the hospital for their well-wishes.

While the president was at Walter Reed, Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley and his entire team came out and answered reporter questions about the president’s health.

When he returned to the White House, Trump appeared in front of media cameras outside the balcony and removed his mask to show he was in good health.

 

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