White House denies Biden has ‘any form of dementia’ at tense press conference

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday said President Biden does not have Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, or another degenerative illness that would explain his rambling, meandering performance during last week’s presidential debate against former president Donald Trump.

Jean-Pierre was asked directly by The Independent if Biden’s reported lapses in memory and struggles during public events was the result of such an illness during the daily White House press briefing, the first since Biden turned in a shockingly dismal performance in his first face-to-face meeting with Trump since they last debated during the 2020 election.

To the question posed, Jean-Pierre replied: “No,” and said she hopes that Trump’s campaign is also being asked a similar question.

Jean-Pierre spent most of Tuesday’s question and answer session battling back queries over whether Biden remains fit to run for and serve a second term, just hours after Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett became the first Democratic member of Congress to call for him to stand down from his quest for a second term.

She repeatedly described Biden’s hoarse and baffling performance as “a bad night” and the result of the effects of a cold he’d been suffering from. And she rebuffed calls for him to withdraw from the race.

“I want to say we understand the concerns. We get it — the president did not have a great night, as you all know,” the press secretary said. “...The president had a cold, he had a hoarse voice … but I will say this, and the president said this over the past couple of days … 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,” she added.

Jean-Pierre did acknowledge that it was “fair” to ask for an explanation for Biden’s performance against Trump. But she declined to say whether the president or his campaign would consent to the release of more medical records in addition to the summary that was made public after his annual physical earlier this year.

She also said Biden’s medical team had said a cognitive test “was not warranted” for the 81-year-old president.

“We understand, we understand, we’re not taking away from what you all saw, what the American people saw,” she said.

“We understand it was a bad night. It is not uncommon for incumbents to have a bad night on their first debate, and we are going to continue to do the work that we have been doing on behalf of the American people.”