Joe Biden: doctors have checked me over – and they’re worried I look too young

Joe Biden delivered a speech on crime shortly after his annual physical check-up
Joe Biden delivered a speech on crime shortly after his annual physical check-up - AP
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Joe Biden has joked that doctors think he “looks too young” after completing his annual physical examination that described him as “heathy, active and robust”.

The 81-year-old has been under mounting scrutiny over his health after a series of gaffes and a special counsel report that described him as “an elderly man with a poor memory”.

Voters across the political spectrum have told pollsters they are concerned about the mental and physical abilities of America’s oldest ever president.

Concern about his capacity to lead increased after he made a series of verbal fluffs and mixed up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt.

On Wednesday, after delivering a speech in Washington about his plans to tackle crime, another major concern for voters, he was asked about his physical check-up, conducted at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre.

“They think I look too young,” he said. Before adding that the exam showed “nothing different than last year”.

The White House on Wednesday released a copy of a six-page memo by Dr Kevin O’Connor that said: “President Biden is a healthy, active, robust, 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.”

It added Mr Biden “feels well and this year’s physical identifies no new concerns”.

The report also noted Mr Biden was being treated for a number of ailments consistent with his age – “sleep apnea, a-fib with normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet”.

It said the president’s gait “remains stiff, but has not worsened since last year”

In his report last year, Mr O’Connor declared Mr Biden “healthy and vigorous”.

It also noted several age-related conditions the president was being treated for including foot pain, elevated cholesterol and a minor heart arrhythmia.

An annual medical check-up is part of the routine for all US presidents and the results are closely watched. After Donald Trump, 77, had his first physical in 2018, it was revealed he was suffering from a common form of heart disease.

Mr Biden’s last physical showed the president had a lesion removed from his chest over the previous year, but the results otherwise largely matched the findings after his previous exam in November 2021.

That report said his occasional coughing was due to acid reflux, while his stiffened gait was the result of spinal arthritis, a previously broken foot and neuropathy in his feet.

A recent poll for NBC found 76 per cent of voters were concerned about Mr Biden’s age. He will be 86 if he wins re-election and completes a second term.

A Quinnipiac University survey last week showed just 34 per cent of Americans believe he had “the mental fitness to serve a second term”.

The White House has hit back, pointing out Mr Trump is just a few years younger and has displayed the same verbal and mental errors that concern voters about Mr Biden.

Yet polls show voters see Mr Trump as physically more robust than Mr Biden.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, was asked whether Mr Biden had undergone a cognitive test in the physical and she said he had not.

“The president doesn’t need a cognitive test. That is not my assessment. That is the assessment of the president’s doctor. That is also the assessment of the neurologist who has also made that assessment as well,” she said.

“I’ll reiterate this, the president’s doctor says, if you look at this President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, he passes a cognitive test every day.”

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