Al’s Afternoon Tea: When White House Doctors Make Things Worse

By Al Perrotta Published on July 9, 2024

Welcome back in for Al’s Afternoon Tea. Today we chew on whether history is repeating itself. 

What to Do, What to Do

Democratic lawmakers met today to decide what to about Joe Biden, as signs emerge that as long as the president insists on remaining the party’s presidential nominee, their hands are tied and they are stuck with a candidate they don’t want. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who was among those calling for Biden to step down, has now done a 180. “Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point,” he told reporters before heading into the Democratic meeting. “He is going to be our nominee and we all have to support him.”

Similarly, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was no fan of Biden running for reelection in the first place, says that “the matter is closed.” 

Tell that to The New York Times. The editorial board is again insisting, in more harsh terms, that Biden needs to step down. Describing him as a “man in decline,” they say the president is “embarrassing himself” by remaining in the race.

Biden Personal Doc Insists All Is Well

Yesterday’s White House press briefing descended into chaos as correspondents hammered Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over what, if any, cognitive tests and treatments Joe Biden has been given, and the disinterest the president’s doctor seems to have in determining his current mental state.

KJP did rule out Parkinson’s: “Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s?” reporters asked.


“Is he being treated for Parkinson’s?”


“Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s?”

“No,” Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor released a statement last night trying to explain that Biden has had neurological tests as part of his annual physicals, and all is well. He cited his own  report from Biden’s physical in February: “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder.”

But watching and listening to the president at every public appearance at this point, clearly all is not well. So we, as concerned citizens, have to ask if the White House doctors are serving him well.

It’s a question that’s been asked before.

“Yes, I Shot the President, But His Physicians Killed Him”

On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield suffered two gunshot wounds from Charles Guiteau, a mentally disturbed seeker of political office. Yet Garfield did not die of his wounds, despite the fact that one of them was point-blank and the bullet lodged behind his pancreas. For 80 days, doctors worked on him, making all manner of incisions in a fruitless effort to get the one bullet out. 

Unfortunately, Garfield was shot a decade before antiseptic techniques were widely adopted and he paid the price. A dozen different doctors inserted dirty, unwashed fingers and instruments to probe his wounds during his treatment. One incision became what PBS described as “a super-infected, pus-ridden gash of human flesh.”  Though Garfield’s condition improved initially in the first few weeks after the shooting, his health again began to decline. On September 19, he suffered a fatal heart attack, with an autopsy showing the more broad cause of death as sepsis from multiple abscesses.

During those 80 days Garfield lingered and for years after, fierce debate raged over whether his doctors had made matters worse. Some blasted them for not retrieving the bullet, others said Garfield would have been better off had the doctors not stuck their fingers in the wounds and cut them more widely open and had just left him alone.

Guiteau himself said, “Yes, I shot the president, but his physicians killed him.”

Though many held that view, it did not stop Guiteau from meeting the hangman’s noose.

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Debate continues to this day. A 2017 paper published by the American College of Surgeons concluded that Garfield’s doctors did the best they could with the accepted medical knowledge at the time. However, another account from the same group asserts categorically that Garfield’s death was “by all accounts, preventable,” that the shot in his back was not fatal, and that “the president’s death was actually caused by the treatment he received from his physicians.”

Biden Administration Sent Unaccompanied Minors to Homes of Known Criminals and Traffickers

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House was so eager to avoid the appearance of “kids in cages” that the media tried to pin on President Donald Trump (though they were in fact in operation during the Obama administration) that they knowingly placed unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in the homes of criminals and traffickers and other “unregulated and unsafe” conditions, rather than keep them safe in government facilities.

According to the newspaper, the administration “repeatedly overrode the concerns of lower-level workers” to place children with adults who had not gone through the proper checks. This is consistent with an HHS Inspector General report released earlier this year that found that “16% of records for children who were released to sponsors in March and April 2021 lacked evidence that a required safety check was conducted.”

This was the same report that revealed the Biden administration had “lost” 85,000 unaccompanied minors.  

On the Stream Menu

You’ve got the power. Mass Resistance shares how “Parents Beat Back Planned Parenthood ‘Wellness Center” in CA Public Schools.”

Dr. Michael Brown’s latest is up, “God Is Jealous for His Glory, Not Ours.”


Al Perrotta is The Stream’s Washington bureau chief, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration, and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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