President Biden, who turned 80 in November, was examined by doctors at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Maryland on Thursday. It was his first check up in over a year. Biden, the oldest President in US history, is widely expected to announce in the coming months that he is running for re-election.
What were the results?
His physician gave him a clean bill of health, but noted Biden continues to have stiffness in his walk from a combination of arthritis in his back, neuropathy in his feet and the long-term effects of breaking his foot in November 2020 while playing with his former dog Major. Doctors conducted a routine removal of a lesion from his chest that will be checked for skin cancer, according to a six-page summary of his examination.
“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency,” wrote Dr. Kevin O’Connor, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and physician to the president.
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The President is six feet tall and weighs 178 pounds, about six pounds lighter than when he was weighed at his previous physical in November 2021. The president takes medication to manage “non-valvular atrial fibrillation” in his heart and takes a statin to moderate his cholesterol levels. A neurologic exam had no findings consistent with stroke or Parkinsons, or other neurological disorders.
Biden’s “gait remains stiff”
Biden has “significant spinal arthritis” and the impact of a broken foot and neuropathy in his feet that changed how he walks, Dr. O’Connor noted. “The President’s gait remains stiff, but has not worsened since last year.”
Biden’s doctor recommended physical therapy and exercise.
Biden’s age is already a campaign issue
Questions about Biden’s age have dogged him since he became the oldest president in U.S. history when he was inaugurated at 78 in January 2021. Before Biden, Ronald Reagan previously held the record for the oldest serving president, finishing out his last day in office at the age of 77.
The issue won’t be going away as the 2024 Presidential race kicks off. Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley took a dig at the ages of Biden and her GOP rival Donald Trump, who is 76, when she announced her candidacy on Wednesday. At her campaign launch in Charleston, South Carolina, Haley called for “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”
“America is not past our prime, it’s just that our politicians are past theirs,” Haley said.
The White House pushed back Thursday on the notion that Biden was past his prime. “We’ve heard these types of attacks or remarks before. And, you know, if you go back to 2020, they said the President couldn’t do it in 2020 and attacked him there, and he beat them,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press briefing.
“Maybe they’re forgetting the wins that this President has had over the last couple of years,” Jean-Pierre added, “but I’m happy to remind them at any time.”