President Joe Biden is a ‘healthy’ and ‘vigorous’ 80-year-old who is fit for office, his doctor said after his annual physical on Thursday at Walter Reed. White House physician Colonel Kevin O’Connor provided an update on his health amid concerns over his age as he prepares to announce a 2024 run for president. The results were largely unchanged from last time, aside from a lesion on his chest that has been sent for cancer screening.
O’Connor (pictured) said Biden’s gait ‘remains stiff,’ but insisted it has not worsened since the last examination. There was also a detailed ‘neurologic exam’ that found nothing ‘consistent with any cerebellar or central neurological disorder.’ ‘He did not demonstrate any motor weakness, but a subtle difference in heat/cold sensation could be elicited,’ the letter continued.
Biden did not undergo a colonoscopy like at last year’s check-up so he would not need to be sedated and temporarily hand-over power to Vice President Kamala Harris while she is in Germany for the Munich Security Conference.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that Biden’s colonoscopy last year was good so he did not require another one. ‘The exam was straightforward, and, as you all saw, he returned to the White House to get back to work,’ Jean-Pierre said shortly after the president returned from his physical. She previewed that O’Connor would release a ‘comprehensive report’ on Biden’s exam as proof of the administration’s continued ‘transparency.’
Biden arrived back from his physical exam at Walter Reed Medical Center (pictured) Thursday morning with a little pep in his step as questions heightened over his age and fitness for office in the run-up to the 2024 election.
The president jogged back to the White House as he arrived on the South Lawn in the pouring rain, before calming his step when he was handed an umbrella. The annual physical evaluation of the president comes as some Republicans – including President Barack Obama’s former doctor – are demanding that Biden receive a cognitive exam as well, pushing fears he is not mentally fit for office.
The president, who was pictured leaving the White House to board Marine One, will be evaluated by White House physician Colonel Kevin O’Connor. Some experts have expressed concerns that the results of his physical will be ‘sugar coated,’ and won’t address cognition and memory issues. Democrats are also expressing increased anxiety and worry about their leader’s age, but are also concerned about Harris becoming the nominee in 2024 without any other clear alternative.
Biden is already the oldest president in U.S. history, and if he wins another term would be 82 at the time of his second inauguration. Newly announced 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley is demanding that all politicians over the age of 75 be required to undergo ‘mandatory mental competency tests.’ Texas Representative Ronny Jackson, who served as White House physician under former President Barack Obama and Donald Trump, joined the call, demanding that the evaluation on Thursday also include a cognitive test of Biden.
‘The majority of Americans think Biden is cognitively impaired,’ Jackson tweeted. ‘He MUST get a cognitive exam with today’s physical exam, and he must release the FULL RESULTS. We need to know!!’ Questions have emerged both during Trump and Biden’s presidency over the two presidents’ mental fitness for office, concerns that were only heightened considering they are both senior citizens.
Following a routine medical exam in November 2021, Biden’s doctor declared him ‘fit for duty’ in a press release on the evaluation, which included a colonoscopy and ‘extremely detailed neurological exam.’ It was the first public medical report of Biden’s presidency and Dr. O’Connor addressed a couple of items that had become topics of public discourse, including his increased coughing and whether his stiff gait was indicative of neurological issues. ‘There were no findings that which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder,’ the doctor noted at the time. Pictured: Marine One Departs the White House with Biden on board en route for Walter Reed Medical Center on Thursday.
Democrats remain secretly concerned, but are reluctant to raise questions over Biden’s fitness for office. ‘Nobody wants to be the one to do something that would undermine the chances of a Democratic victory in 2024,’ Minnesota Democratic Representative Dean Phillips told Politico. ‘Yet in quiet rooms the conversation is just the opposite — we could be at a higher risk if this path is cleared,’ he added. A person involved in the annual physical told CNN that concerns over Biden’s age had become ‘omnipresent.’ One senator said, according to Politico, that few Democrats in the upper chamber want Biden to run again. But it’s unclear who Democrats would want to take his place. Pictured: Biden steps off Marine One and into the Beast to drive to the medical center for his appointment.
During a news conference of Democratic governors touting 2022 midterm gains, the group grew quiet when asked if they felt Harris should be nominated if Biden decided not to run. A House member, however, said that Biden should be the nominee and demanded that the reporter list proposals for alternative candidates, insisting that the president’s No. 2 is not an option. Biden, who hasn’t officially said if he will run for reelection yet, is said to be eyeing an April announcement, which is the same month he unveiled his bid for the 2020 presidential election. Phillips claims that most Democrats are worried about speaking out against the current president making a bid for a second term, claiming they are more concerned with damaging their own careers in politics by going against Biden.
‘It’s fear, plain and simple,’ Phillips said about the lack of Democratic officials calling for a new nominee and other potential candidates steering clear of a bid. ‘People are focused on self-preservation and their aspirations,’ he explained. ‘He’s a president of great competence and success, I admire the heck out of President Biden,’ Phillips said. ‘And if he were 15-20 years younger it would be a no-brainer to nominate him, but considering his age it’s absurd we’re not promoting competition but trying to extinguish it.’ The only other Democratic lawmaker willing to publicly call for a new nominee in 2024 is Phillips’s fellow Minnesotan Representative Angie Craig. ‘I said it, I still believe it, but if the president chooses to run again I’ll respect that decision and I’ll support him,’ Craig said, according to Politico.
Democrats, according to the CNN report, have increased anxiety that Trump, even though only a few years younger, will come off as more energetic by keeping with the pace of two or three events every day. More than a dozen Democratic operatives expressed this feeling, including prominent figures within the party privately questioning Biden’s ability to keep up with an aggressive campaign travel schedule. If Biden wins a second term, he will leave office at the age of 86. Trump announced his candidacy for a second non-consecutive term in mid-November. The ex-president’s once Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on Tuesday her candidacy for the White House. Haley and Trump are the only two major Republicans who have officially launched their candidacy for 2024.
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