White House clams up on Biden COVID-19 testing regimen

In an abrupt change of course, the White House is now declining to comment on the frequency of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 testing regimen

Biden AP Interview
Biden AP Interview

In an abrupt change of course, the White House is now declining to comment on the frequency of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 testing regimen, even as it maintains that it would inform the public if he were to ever test positive for the coronavirus.

Since Inauguration Day, the White House had frequently answered questions from reporters about when Biden, 79, last tested negative for the virus. Now, the White House says its policy is not to answer those questions.

“I’m telling you he has a regular cadence," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday, refusing to say what day he last tested negative. "I just don’t have a date to share with you, but he does have a regular weekly cadence.”

Following Jean-Pierre's comments, deputy press secretary Chris Meagher tweeted Thursday that “Our policy is not to readout every test POTUS has taken."

Biden has often been tested more frequently, either because of close calls with people who have subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 or because of his travel schedule. And the White House had previously been more transparent about Biden's testing.

“To remain transparent with you and the American people, we wanted to share that the President tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday,” then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last February. "We will venture to provide this update the following day in the future.”

As recently as May 4, Psaki told reporters that Biden tested negative the previous day.

The new, more opaque approach comes as top White House officials have been matter-of-fact about the chances of the president getting COVID, a measure of how ingrained the virus has become in society — and of its diminished threat for those who are up to date on their vaccinations and with access to treatments.

Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the White House would inform the public if Biden were to test positive or if he were to be deemed a “close contact” of someone who tested positive. The White House uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of a “close contact," which is being in the presence of someone with known or suspected COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, or within six feet of someone with the virus up to two days before they tested positive.

The White House said Biden has never tested positive for COVID-19.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in