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Biden’s doctor says he remains ‘fit for duty’ after annual physical

The president was described as a ‘healthy, active, robust 81-year-old.’ The checkup comes shortly after Biden’s abilities were questioned by a report that called him an ‘elderly man with a poor memory’

Biden annual physical
Joe Biden leaving the Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda Wednesday after undergoing a medical check-up.CHRIS KLEPONIS / POOL (EFE)
Iker Seisdedos

An annual physical is not usually news. Unless the patient is, of course, U.S. President Joe Biden. At 81 years of age, his health and physical and mental abilities have become a matter of public interest and almost a national security issue, given his plans to renew his position next November. If his fellow Americans give him their trust again, he will be 82 years old when he is sworn in early next year, and 86 when he completes his second term.

Biden, who long ago broke the record as the oldest president in the history of the United States, underwent tests this Wednesday at the Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. His doctor, Kevin O’Connor, stated in a published summary that “there are no new concerns” regarding the president’s health. “The President feels well and this year’s physical identified no new concerns. He continues to be fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations,” O’Connor wrote. “President Biden is a healthy, active and robust 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.”

O’Connor also assured that the president had undergone an “extremely detailed” neurological examination that revealed no trace of stroke, neurological disorders, or Parkinson’s disease.

The announcement that he was heading to the hospital had grabbed the headlines early on a morning when the president also dealt with the bittersweet results of his party’s primaries in Michigan, in which he easily won but also received a strong vote of punishment from the Arab-American community in one of the decisive states for the November election. A portion of voters checked the “uncommitted” box to show their opposition to the Biden administration’s support for Israel in the war in Gaza.

Biden’s cognitive health, a favorite argument of his enemies to attack him for his alleged inability to perform one of the most demanding jobs in the world, was placed at the center of public discussion after the publication of a report drafted by special counsel Robert Hur, who had been appointed to investigate Biden’s handling of confidential papers from his time as vice president and found in his possession last year. Hur could not accuse Biden of any crime, but he did slip in an unsolicited diagnosis about his “bad memory,” which benefited former president Donald Trump, his more than likely rival at the polls next November, and raised doubts, even among Democrats, about their ability to win the election.

Octogenarian ailments

In the previous visit to the doctor, in January of last year, Biden also came out with flying colors: he has certain octogenarian ailments (namely: obstructive sleep apnea, atrial fibrillation, hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy in the feet).

The previous medical report published by the White House, dated November 2021, also brought good news for the president: it said that he was healthy and fit to hold office, but it also noted small ailments, such as a more frequent cough, a peripheral neuropathy and cervical spondylosis that contributed to a certain rigidity in movements. It also highlighted that Biden maintained a healthy life and healthy habits: he neither smokes nor drinks, and he exercises at least five times a week.

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