White House doc: Biden's physical exam included "extremely detailed" neurological exam

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Joe Biden celebrated his 79th birthday yesterday at his million-dollar beach house in Delaware. On Friday, before leaving town, Biden underwent his first physical exam as president, including a colonoscopy for which he was placed under anesthesia. His doctor reports that Biden is in good health and is fit for the office.

Biden temporarily transferred presidential powers to Kamala Harris when he underwent the colonoscopy because he of going under anesthesia, according to requirements found in the 25th amendment. According to the medical report, “This transfer of authorities occurred at 1010 hours this morning. President Biden re-assumed presidential authority 1135 hours.” So, Kamala can now claim to be the first female acting president. Fortunately, it was only for just a little more than an hour. During that colonoscopy, a single, 3mm, benign-appearing polyp was identified and removed. Test results on that are expected to be available early this week.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president for the last thirteen years, released the findings of the physical exam Friday. The exam took over five hours and was conducted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Biden underwent blood, physical, gastrointestinal, dental, vision, and neurological examinations. What most of us want to know is, how’s his mental capacity? The doctor vouches for Sleepy Joe, though not in a specific, definitive way. Suspicions of symptoms of dementia are not validated by the report but it only speaks specifically of stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s.

The health summary also said that an “extremely detailed” neurological exam was “reassuring,” and noted that there were no findings that would be consistent with a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s.

The report says Biden is healthy and “vigorous” which is a stretch to believe if you are a regular observer of the president. Look at any video of him during the Obama administration and compare it to now and it is clear he’s lost a step or two, which is normal as he ages. He is being treated for age-related difficulties and his stiff-legged gait was addressed, as well as his frequent coughing and clearing his throat.

The physician’s health summary noted that Biden has experienced “increasing frequency and severity” of throat-clearing and coughing during speaking engagements and also has a “stiffer and less fluid” gait than a year ago.

It added he is receiving treatment for several “stable” medical conditions. They included asymptomatic atrial fibrillation with a normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet.

For these conditions, the report said, he takes three prescription medications and two over-the-counter medications.

Biden’s BMI is listed as 25, putting him on the brink of being overweight. The report noted that he doesn’t smoke, drink alcohol and that he works out at least five days per week.

The physician’s report is meant to reassure Americans and leaders around the world that he is healthy and able to carry out his duties. It’s notable that it is only now that Biden went in for an extensive physical exam and the report was released in a Friday news dump. Remember how Trump’s medical exam results were treated? They were scrutinized endlessly by national media, mocked, and Democrats called for additional exams to check his mental capacity.

When asked about recent polling that shows most Americans do not think Biden is in good health, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki brushed concerns off as conspiracies pushed by his opponents.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was needled Friday regarding fresh Politico /Morning Consult polling this week that found a majority of respondents do not agree Biden is in “good health.”

“I can’t speak to the assessments of voters,” Psaki said. “There is certainly quite a bit of conspiracy theory-pushing out there on an array of social media platforms and even through the mouths of elected officials, so that could certainly be a root cause.”

It’s not a conspiracy theory, though, because it is something that anyone can see. We see his stiff-legged gait when he walks. We see him with a dazed and confused look in his eyes each time he speaks. None of that has anything to do with his history of stuttering. It has to do with mental sharpness. His gait is a sign of age, which isn’t nearly as alarming as his state of confusion as projected when he speaks. It is to be expected that most Americans are not feeling very comfortable with Biden’s ability to handle the job, both physically and mentally, as president. It is not to be brushed off that many Americans think that Biden isn’t calling the shots in the White House.

When he became president, Biden was older than Ronald Reagan when he left office. And, despite White House protestations, there is a sense that Biden’s physical and mental abilities are “starting to fail,” according to historian and Reagan biographer Craig Shirley.

“Mental acuity is not something one ever gets better from — only a matter of how worse and how soon,” Shirley said.

But Biden following Donald Trump, previously the oldest president, is symptomatic of societal changes and medical advances, according to David Greenberg, another historian and fellow political commentator.

“Although decline is not uncommon, it is also common to be functioning at a very high level in one’s 80s or even, in some cases, one’s 90s,” Greenberg said.

As Biden and Harris’s overall job approval ratings plummet, Republican strategist John Feehery contended Biden’s “feebleness, not inflation,” is driving down his numbers. On average, about two-fifths of respondents approve of Biden, while 53% disapprove, according to RealClearPolitics. Harris’s favorability roughly aligns with that of her boss.

“Most voters just don’t feel that comfortable with Biden at the driver’s wheel,” Feehery said. “Most voters also assume that Biden is not running again, which is why so much attention is being paid to Harris.”

We are in a precarious position because if something happens and Biden doesn’t complete his full term, it leaves us with Kamala. Her approval ratings are worse than Joe’s. Psaki and others immediately play the race card and the gender card when Kamala receives criticism. That is how liberals chill free speech. The truth is clear to even Democrats who are concerned she will be the 2024 candidate – she’s a lousy politician and she isn’t very likable. Biden is trying to give her opportunities that could enhance a presidential run because she flamed out really quickly in the 2020 presidential primary, but she hasn’t risen to the occasion. She is mostly missing in action and only surfaces occasionally to stand behind Biden as a show of unity. Kamala’s three international trips have been a disaster. Kamala’s incompetency has nothing to do with her gender or her ethnicity. It’s all on her.

At this point, we have to hope Biden stays healthy enough to remain in office. Let the Democrats deal with Kamala in 2024. I’ll pass the popcorn.