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Democratic nominee Joe Biden admitted Monday that he would not be transparent with Americans about his health should he win the election on Nov. 3.
Biden’s comments came after Democrats and the media heavily criticized President Donald Trump and his team of doctors over the weekend for seemingly dodging transparency about the president’s health during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
What did Biden say?
During an NBC News town hall, Biden explained that, if he were president, circumstances may arise where details of his health would not be publicly disclosed.
“I can understand there could be certain circumstances relating to national security, where every detail would not be made available in the middle of a particular crisis,” Biden said, the Washington Examiner reported.
In fact, Biden said that presidents are due special circumstances, explaining “sometimes for a president, that would come after the fact,” referring to the disclosure of personal health details.
As the Examiner noted, Biden has mostly steered clear of attacking Trump over what the president’s critics claimed have been issues of transparency surrounding his health.
Perhaps that is because Biden and his campaign have been hit with similar accusations.
What is Biden’s record of transparency?
From the New York Times:
[B]eyond the public examples of safety precautions, Mr. Biden’s health protocols have remained largely under wraps, with his campaign saying little about what steps it is taking to protect the 77-year-old Democratic nominee.
His aides will not answer questions about whether Mr. Biden is tested daily; they say simply that he is tested “regularly.” Until this weekend, they had promised to inform the public only if he had a confirmed positive case. Then, on Saturday night, after two days of refusing to provide details about Mr. Biden’s testing procedures, the campaign committed to releasing the results of all of his tests.
In fact, Biden’s campaign has downright refused transparency regarding COVID-19.
Over the weekend, Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Biden, was asked about the campaign’s contingency plans if Biden does test positive for COVID-19. She did not mince words.
“Much like I wouldn’t discuss our security plans here on national television, I’m not going to talk about our inner workings of our health plans,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Meanwhile, doctors who spoke with the New York Times reiterated that, in the age of COVID-19 and elder candidates, transparency is key.
Being dodgy with information “engenders trust in the community, it helps allay fears and concerns,” Dr. Kelly Michelson of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told the Times.
Teneille Brown, a professor of law at the University of Utah, added, “We have a real loss of trust in communication coming out of our leaders. It would do a great deal to rebuild trust for there to be absolute transparency about timing, risk, exposure.”