Biden’s Doctor Says He’s ‘Healthy’ and ‘Vigorous’ Ahead of Expected 2024 Bid

Joe Biden’s doctor says he is “healthy” and “vigorous” following a routine physical Thursday that comes as the oldest ever US president eyes a widely expected 2024 reelection bid, where he will face scrutiny over his fitness.

(Bloomberg) — Joe Biden’s doctor says he is “healthy” and “vigorous” following a routine physical Thursday that comes as the oldest ever US president eyes a widely expected 2024 reelection bid, where he will face scrutiny over his fitness. 

Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” his longtime physician Kevin O’Connor said in a written summary released by the White House. 

The president, who turned 80 in November, has brushed off concerns about his age as he weighs seeking a second term in 2024. Biden has said he intends to run again but had not finalized the decision. He has cited his family or a surprise development, such as a health crisis, as deterrents to another run.

Biden has faced Republican attacks about his age as they’ve sought to undermine him. GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, who is running against her former boss, ex-president Donald Trump, 76, proposed a mandatory mental competency test for politicians over the age of 75. 

Though Haley, herself, got into a public row earlier Thursday around age after CNN anchor Don Lemon said that she “isn’t in her prime.” She fired back on Twitter saying “liberals can’s stand the idea of having competency tests for older politicians to make sure they can do the job.”

But Biden has deflected criticism by pointing at his legislative record over the last two years as well as shepherding Democrats to a better-than-expected 2022 midterm election performance. 


‘Thoroughly Honest’

“Watch me. It’s all I can say,” Biden said in a post-State of the Union interview with PBS Newshour last week. “It goes from one extreme to another. Last night I heard people saying, ‘Well, just watch Biden, by God, age is not an issue any more.’”

The president has vowed to be “completely thoroughly honest with the American people if I thought there was any health problem, anything that would keep me from being able to do the job.” 

Polls show some voters, though, including many Democrats, have reservations about Biden’s age and the prospect of him potentially serving four more years in office. A November Reuters/Ipsos poll found 70% of voters agreed the statement “too old to work in government” either slightly or strongly described Biden.

On Thursday, Biden also underwent a routine skin cancer check. One small lesion on the president’s chest was sent for a biopsy, according to the letter.

O’Connor said “an extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring” in that there were no findings of cerebellar or other central neurological disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. 


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier Thursday characterized Biden’s physical exam, which was conducted at Walter Reed Medical Center, as “straightforward.” 

Biden was treated for a double-bout of Covid-19 last year, during which he experienced mild symptoms, including a headache, runny nose and cough. After taking Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral pill Paxlovid, Biden suffered a relapse of the virus, which took him away from in-person presidential duties for days.

The illness was Biden’s first encounter with a virus he pledged to eradicate on the campaign trail, and devoted significant financial resources to fight in his first two years in office. 

He hasn’t suffered from so-called long Covid, O’Connor said. 

First Lady Jill Biden also contracted Covid-19 shortly after her husband, and similarly suffered a rebound case after taking Paxlovid. The first lady recently had three cancerous skin lesions surgically removed in January.

At Biden’s last physical, O’Connor noticed that the president was suffering from a stiffer gait. In Thursday’s exam, O’Connor said the president’s condition “has not worsened since last year.”

O’Connor also again noted a finding of mild peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage, in Biden’s feet, and said custom orthotics had been prescribed.

He continues to take a nasal spray and over-the-counter allergy medicine to address allergies and congestion.

Biden in 2021 underwent a colonoscopy that required him to temporarily transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he was under anesthesia. Jean-Pierre said Biden did not need to undergo the screening this year.

–With assistance from Christian Hall.

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