President Joe Biden will travel to Walter Reed Friday morning for his first routine annual physical as president, just a day shy of his 79th birthday, the White House announced.
Earlier this week, a new poll found that voters were split on whether Biden is mentally fit enough and healthy enough to handle the presidency.
Only 40 per cent of voters surveyed in a new Politico/Morning Consult poll agreed with the statement that Biden ‘is in good health,’ while 50 per cent disagreed.
President Joe Biden will travel to Walter Reed Friday morning for his first routine annual physical as president, just a day shy of his 79th birthday, the White House announced
Biden, who was the oldest person to assume the presidency when he was sworn into office at the age of 78, got a tougher rating when it came to his mental health.
Asked whether Biden is ‘mentally fit’, voters were close to an even split: 46 per cent says he is and 48 per cent disagree.
And asked whether Biden is ‘stable,’ voters are split again with 44 per cent saying he is and 50 per cent disagreeing.
Voters’ opinions on the president’s health appear to be shifting with more of them concerned about his fitness.
In October 2020, when the poll last surveyed the question, voters believed Biden was in good health by a 19-point margin compared to this recent 10 point one. Addtionally, in that October 2020 survey, voters believed Biden was mentally fit by a 21-point margin.
Biden turns 79 on Saturday and the last extensive update on his health came in December 2019 – during the presidential campaign – where his doctor described him as ‘a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewed recently that Biden’s physical would be coming ‘soon.’
‘It is standard for every president to get a physical,’ Psaki said in October. ‘He will get a physical too. When he gets a physical, we will make all of that information available.’
President Donald Trump, who was 70 when he was elected president, mocked Biden’s stamina on the campaign trail in last year’s election, dubbing him with the moniker ‘Sleepy Joe.’
Trump’s first physical was released in January 2018, a year after he was sworn-in.
An exuberant Dr. Ronny Jackson, now a Republican in Congress, praised Trump for having ‘incredible genes,’ which allowed the then 71-year-old president to consume Diet Coke, McDonald’s, ice cream and exercise very little and still stay in ‘very, very good health.’
‘I have absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability,’ Jackson also assured reporters, after the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House had raised questions about Trump’s mental state.
Joe and Jill Biden stay physically active – above they ride their bikes through Cape Henlopen State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in September 2019
In March, Biden stumbled three times while climbing the stairs to board Air Force One, which his staff blamed on the windy day
While Trump regularly ‘speaks his mind,’ Jackson argued, he ‘found no reason whatsoever to think that the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process.’
Biden hasn’t helped matter with his tendency toward gaffes – an afflication that has plagued him on and off throughout his more than 40 years in politics.
In his first few months in office, he would refer to his vice president as ‘President Kamala Harris’ and White House staff recently had to clarify comments he made on the situation in Taiwan.
In March, Biden stumbled three times while climbing the stairs to board Air Force One, which his staff blamed on the windy day.
The president does stay physically active – he and First Lady Jill Biden ride bikes when they are at their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and he plays golf at the local country club when he’s home in Wilmington.
But questions about his health popped up in September, when he coughed frequently in a series of public events.
The White House blamed allergies.
‘I don’t think it’s an issue of concern,’ Psaki said at the time. ‘There’s a range of reasons why we need to clear our throat or have a light cold.’