Karine Jean-Pierre Says Biden's Physical Didn't Include Cognitive Test Because He 'Doesn't Need' One

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, U.S., Feb. 27, 2024. (Reuters)
February 28, 2024

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that President Joe Biden's annual physical that day did not include a cognitive test because he "doesn't need" one.

"You were asking me about a cognitive test. As it relates to that, look, the president doesn't need a cognitive test. That is not my assessment. That is not my assessment. That is the assessment of the president's doctor. That is also the assessment of the neurologist," Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House in a press briefing. ABC News's senior White House correspondent, Selina Wang, had asked if Biden's appointment included a test.

Jean-Pierre added that Biden "passes a cognitive test every day," a belief his doctor shares, she said.

"This is a very rigorous job, and the president has been able to do this job every day for the past three years," Jean-Pierre said. "And let's not forget: He is also leading a historic presidency, which is also important to note, in everything that we've been able to do—he's been able to get done over the past three years."

Wang followed up and asked Jean-Pierre why Biden would not undergo a cognitive test and dispel concerns about his mental fitness. The press secretary reiterated that Biden's doctors do not believe he needs one.

A clinical cognitive test "is a 15-minute appointment that is administered by someone that, most of the time, people don't actually know," Jean-Pierre said. "And the president has a team of doctors that is with him 24/7, and he is able to do the work every day that is rigorous—that is more rigorous than it would be for any 15-minute clinical appointment."

Biden underwent his annual physical on Wednesday, joking at an event later in the day that "they think I look too young" and insisting that "everything's great."

Jean-Pierre's comments come amid gaffes from the 81-year-old Biden that have elicited concerns over his age. Earlier in the month, Biden on three occasions confused the names of European leaders, saying he talked to people at a 2021 meeting who had died years earlier. The same week, Special Counsel Robert Hur released a report that called Biden "a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory." Biden in his Oct. 8, 2023, interview with investigators could not remember when his term as president began and ended nor the year his son Beau died, that report revealed.