James Comer Turns Up Pressure on Joe Biden’s Doctor

The House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Representative James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, announced on Sunday that it’s seeking to interview President Joe Biden’s physician, Kevin O’Connor, after Biden’s recent debate fiasco.

During the first presidential debate in Atlanta last month, Biden mumbled through his administration’s accomplishments and goals in a hoarse voice. Often times, the 81-year-old struggled to give a coherent answer. Biden’s team later said he had a cold and was suffering from jet lag. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump, 78, is only three years younger than Biden and has also faced scrutiny about his age and cognitive ability.

On Sunday, the House Oversight Committee announced its request for a transcribed interview with O’Connor about his medical assessments of Biden. The president’s last medical assessment was in February and did not include a cognitive test. At the time, O’Connor, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a retired U.S. Army colonel, said that “President Biden is a healthy, active, robust 81-year-old-male, who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency…”

In a letter to O’Connor, Comer wrote on Sunday that “after a concerning debate performance by President Biden against former President Donald Trump on June 27, journalists have rushed to report on what Americans have seen plainly for years: the President appears unwell.”

The congressman added: “Americans question President Biden’s ability to lead the country, and the Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating circumstances surrounding your assessment in February…The Oversight Committee is concerned your medical assessments have been influenced by your private business endeavors with the Biden family.”

The Oversight Committee also plans to probe O’Connor about “his private endeavors with the Biden family’s business schemes,” according to a House Oversight press release on Sunday. Additionally, Comer has asked O’Connor for “all documents and communications in his possession related to his involvement in the Biden family’s financial activity,” according to the release. There is no evidence to back up claims that the Biden family or O’Connor were a part of any business schemes.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who sits on the Oversight Committee, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday: “We look forward to talking with President Biden’s physician.”

Newsweek has reached out to the Oversight Committee’s leadership and its Democrat minority via email for comment.

Representative James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, is seen on April 11 in Washington, D.C. The House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Comer, announced on Sunday that it’s seeking to interview President Joe Biden’s physician,…

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

White House spokesman Ian Sams told Newsweek via email on Sunday afternoon, “Here they go again, pushing their crazy, discredited conspiracy theories in order to score another hit on [Fox News’ Maria] Bartiromo.”

“If extreme House Republicans want to take a look at a White House physician, here’s an idea for where to start,” Sams added, who provided a link to a Washington Post article published last February, titled, “‘No prescription needed’: Inside a White House clinic’s ‘systemic problems.'”

The article focuses on the White House Medical Unit’s rumored inappropriate medical practices formed by Trump’s former personal physician Ronny Jackson, who currently serves Texas’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jackson also served as a physician under the Obama administration.

Jackson has dismissed criticism about his medical work in the White House and said on Capitol Hill in January that “people were getting the care that was authorized.”

Newsweek reached out to Jackson’s office via telephone on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, House Republicans have long attempted to impeach Biden, claiming he was involved in and benefited from his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, despite there being no evidence of this. The White House has repeatedly denied such claims and Biden has called the Oversight Committee impeachment inquiry a “baseless political stunt.”

The day after his dismal debate performance, an animated Biden told a crowd of his supporters at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, “I know I’m not a young man, to state the obvious. I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know: I know how to tell the truth. I know right from wrong. And I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. And I know like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back up.”

While there were misleading statements from both sides during the debate, Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, did so more than Biden. CNN counted over 30 false statements made by the former president, while the network said Biden made at least nine false or misleading statements during the debate.

Despite growing calls for the president to drop out of the race and for another prominent Democrat to become the party’s nominee, Biden has vowed to stay in the race, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Friday that he would only drop out if God Almighty tells him to.

The national poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight shows Trump ahead of Biden by 2.3 points (42.1 percent to 39.9 percent) as of Sunday morning. The election has been extremely tight, with predictions often flipping on who will be reelected. Just days before last month’s debate, Biden was leading the former president by a narrow margin.

Update 7/7/24, 3:45 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Update 7/7/24, 4:41 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Update 7/7/24, 5:17 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment from Sams and additional information.