US President Joe Biden remains “healthy”, “energetic” and fit for service, but is showing some signs of aging, his doctor said Friday, after the oldest president in American history underwent his first routine in office and — in a moment-making history. He briefly transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris while undergoing a colonoscopy.
Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, transferred power to Harris, the first black woman and first person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president, for an hour and 25 minutes while he was under anesthesia at Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital. center.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden resumed his duties after speaking with Harris and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein at approximately 11:35 a.m. ET.
Concern about Biden’s health has been high since he announced his candidacy for the White House in 2019 and remains intense as speculation grows about his 2024 re-election bid. It was a visit to a hospital in suburban Washington for his first routine physical exam as president — and the first since December 2019.
When Biden left the medical center in the afternoon, he said he was “feeling great.”
“A great material voice and a great voice in the House,” he said, referring to the House’s passage earlier in the day of its nearly $2 trillion social and environmental agenda.
Returning to the White House, he said “nothing has changed” with his health, joking, “We’re in great shape, and I’m looking forward to celebrating my 58th birthday.”
While serving as acting president, Psaki said, Harris worked from her office in the West Wing. She later flew to Ohio as soon as Biden woke up from the procedure.
Psaki said Biden was well aware of the history he was making when he chose Harris for vice president, adding that she made “history every day” on the job.
“Today was definitely another chapter in that history and I think it will be noted for women and young girls across the country,” she added.
Near-death experience in the 80’s
During Friday’s checkup, Biden underwent an array of blood, physical, digestive, dental, vision and neurological tests.
Dr. Kevin O’Connor, who has been Biden’s primary care physician since 2009, wrote in a six-page memo issued by the White House that Biden “remains a healthy, energetic 78-year-old man fit to successfully carry out the duties of the presidency.”
However, O’Connor revealed that he investigated Biden for an increase in “throat clearing” cases during public statements and a stiffening of his gait. O’Connor reported that Biden’s cough was the result of gastro-intestinal reflux and that a stiff gait was the result of a new diagnosis of “mild peripheral neuropathy,” spinal arthritis and decompensation of a broken foot he had sustained a year earlier.
From the White House Press Secretary:
. POTUS speak with @ VP And WHCOS At about 11:35 a.m. this morning. He was POTUS In good spirits and at that time he resumed his duties. He will remain at Walter Reed as he completes the rest of his physical routine.
Biden was hit by the brush of death in 1988, which required surgery to repair a brain aneurysm, and weak bulges in his arteries, one of which leaked. His doctor said Biden never had it again, citing a test in 2014 that checked his arteries.
When Biden took office, he sent O’Connor back to the White House to continue his work as a physician, and O’Connor led a team of experts in doing Biden’s physical examination on Friday.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Biden’s team took extensive steps to keep the then-nominee and incumbent president healthy as the virus spread and took a disproportionate toll on the older population. Biden received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020 and the second dose just two weeks before he took office. He received a booster dose, which regulators say provides more lasting protection, in late September.