White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted that President Biden was following proper Covid-19 protocols in forging ahead with his public appearances, despite having come down with a cold.
Biden sparked concerns for his health on Friday by speaking with a hoarse voice and coughing his way through a speech on the disappointing November jobs report that fell below expectations.
‘A lot of people in the workforce are encouraged not to got to work if they are exhibiting those symptoms. So are the rules different for the president?’ Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked the press secretary.
‘The president again was tested [for Covid], as we put out,’ Psaki said. ‘He received a response quickly for him to proceed … he had a cold.’
Doocy noted it is possible to test negative several times before testing positive. ‘Any concerns?’
‘I can assure you that the president follows every protocol … he wants to keep everyone safe in the White House.’
She said Biden was tested for COVID more often than usual this week – three times – because of his cold symptoms.
Biden said it was ‘just a cold’ and he is tested for Covid-19 every day.
‘I’m okay Biden said. “I have a [coronavirus] test every day.”
‘What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ Biden said.
The president seemed to refer to his son Hunter’s youngest child Beau Jr.
Biden said it was ‘just a cold’ and he is tested for Covid-19 every day
Biden, pictured above last Friday in Nantucket near his grandson Beau, said the child passed on a cold to him
‘He’s taken over the counter cold medication and probably some cough drops and some tea.’
Washington Post’s Weijia Jiang pointed out that Biden has claimed he is tested every day for Covid-19. ‘Did he just misspeak there?’
‘I would point you to the transparent note we put out from the doctor to all of you It outlines how many times he was tested and what he was tested for,’ Psaki said.
At the end of his audibly raspy speech where he stopped to cough multiple times, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Biden: ‘Mr. President, your voice sounds different. Are you okay?’
Biden also sounded raspy while delivering remarks on Thursday.
The White House, concerned about quelling rumors, released an official statement on the president’s cold.
‘What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ Biden said. His wife Jill is pictured above kissing Beau
‘As is readily apparent, the president is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week. This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in one’s throat,” the president’s doctor Kevin O’Conner said in the statement.
‘Investigation has included a comprehensive respiratory panel which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include COVID-19, other coronaviruses, influenza, streptococcus, to name a few… all of these tests were negative.’
Last weekend Biden was caught disobeying and indoor mask mandate as he did some shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The president, who had been staying in Nantucket with his family, was spotted inside Murray’s Toggery Shop with his mask around his neck and not covering his mouth. A large ‘Face Covering Required’ sign could be seen on the front door of the shop.
The island brought back its indoor mask mandates earlier this month at a town meeting on November 18. They made the decision to return to indoor masking because scientists found a prevalence of the virus in island sewage.
Two weeks ago the 79-year-old president had a benign polyp removed during his colonoscopy.
The physician also ran a series of tests and found that the president’s frequent ‘throat clearing’ could also be due to gastroesophageal reflux and found that there ‘were zero tumors or polyps, and his vocal cord appearance and function were normal.’
U.S. employers added just 210,000 jobs in November, well below the estimated half a million that economists had predicted.
It’s a sign that companies are still cautious as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.
However, Biden touted the new report. ‘We’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever,’ he said.
Medical report lists the five medications that Biden takes for allergies and other conditions
President Biden’s medical report reveals that he is taking five different medications to ease his allergies, reduce the risk of a stroke and to reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
It also notes that he has ‘no known medication allergies’
Apixaban (Eliquis) – anticoagulant medication used to treat and prevent blood clots and to prevent stroke
Rosuvastatin (Crestor) – a statin, used to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and raise ‘good’ cholesterol
Fluticasone/azelastine (Dymista) – a nasal spray antihistamine that prevents runny nose, itching, and sneezing from allergies
Fexofenadine (Allegra) – an over-the-counter medication to tackle the symptoms of allergies
Famotidine (Pepcid) – an over-the-counter treatment for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, which also reduces the risk of stomach ulcers
He boasted about the ‘incredible news’ that the unemployment rate is down to 4.2%. ‘Simply put, America is back to work.’
Viewers of the speech immediately took notice of his strange sound.
‘The hell is going on with Biden’s voice? He sounds like Barry White,’ one Twitter user wrote.
‘By the sound of Biden’s voice he’s either getting sick or just reached puberty,’ wrote another.
The data was compiled before Wednesday’s announcement that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was found in the U.S.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was on live television, doing a roundtable for MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when the number dropped.
‘That’s a number that feels a little, what? A little off?’ Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked, as economists had predicted 550,000 jobs to be added.
Psaki said she couldn’t publicly comment about the Department of Labor report yet.
‘Well, I know this sounds a little archaic, but I can’t comment on them until 9:30 a.m., by rules because I work at the White House,’ Psaki said. ‘I will say what people can expect the president to continue to say today, month-to-month, is that what we’re seeing are good trends.’
President Biden welcomed the news, saying America was back to work.
‘Today, we have incredible news that our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2% – a level experts didn’t expect us to achieve until 2024,’ he tweeted.
‘We’ve created 588,000 jobs per month on average this year – a record.’
Biden’s physician pronounces him ‘fit for duty’ in first public medical report
Joe Biden is ‘fit for duty,’ his doctor declared Friday after the president’s routine medical exam, which included a colonoscopy and ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam.’
Biden is ‘fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exceptions or accommodations,’ Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s longtime physician, wrote in a six-page memo to press secretary Jen Psaki, which was released by the White House.
In the first public medical report of Biden’s presidency, O’Connor addressed a couple of items that had become topic of public discourse – the president’s notable increase in coughing and clearing his throat and whether his stiffer gait a symptom of a neurological problem – such as a stroke.
‘There were no findings that which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder,’ the doctor noted, saying the ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam was reassuring.’
O’Connor concluded the causes were actually fairly minor issues.
Biden is experiencing ‘increasing frequency and severity of ‘throat clearing’ and coughing during speaking engagements’ over the last few months and it ‘warranted detailed investigation,’ the doctor acknowledged.
The cause was found to be gastroesophageal reflux, which has him ‘clear his throat more often.’ It also contributes to his ‘occasional cough and sinus congestion.’ His symptoms are exacerbated after meals, the report notes. He has no tumors in his sinuses however, and no signs of ulcer or stomach cancer.
The president, who turns 79 on Saturday, also has an ‘ambulatory gait’ that is ‘perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it was a year or so ago.’
That gait distrubance can ‘include a variety of neurological pathologies,’ Dr. O’Connor acknowledges. He cited the tests he ran to rule them out, saying he had a team of spine, foot and ankle, radiology, physical therapy and movement disorder neurological specialists to ‘carefully examine and assess the president.’
The neurological exam found ‘no signs of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis,’ the memo notes, but did it did find ‘a mild peripheral neuropathy in both feet.’
A ‘combination of significant spinal arthritis, post-fracture ‘limp and compensation’ and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet are the explanation for the subtle gait changes which I was investigating,’ O’Connor writes.
The doctor noted Biden acknowledges being stiffer in the mornings but that it eases throughout the day, which is attributed to the ‘number of orthopedic and sports related injuries’ the president had over the years, including when he wore a boot on his right foot last year.
Biden would ‘likely benefit from some shoe orthotics’ and is in physical therapy, the memo notes.
Biden’s colonoscopy found a ‘benign-appear polyp’ that was easily removed.
‘Histologic evaluation is anticipated to be completed early next week,’ the doctor noted. ‘The president has never had colon cancer.’
O’Connor first started treating Biden in 2009 when he was vice president and he was the doctor wrote Biden’s last public medical report, which was released in December 2019 during the presidential campaign. O’Connor is a retired US Army colonel who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army Special Operations Command.
Biden is 5’11’ and 184 pounds with a BMI of 25. His blood pressure was 120/70. He ‘does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol and works out five days a week.’
The six-page memo on his health concludes with: ‘This patient’s current medical considerations … include a-fib with normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastresophagel reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet. For these, he takes three common prescription medications and two common over-the-counter medications.’
‘President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency, to include those of chief executive, head of state and commander in chief.’
The unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent, the lowest since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. It was 4.6 per cent in October.
The U.S. has gained back 83 per cent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Additionally, wages increased.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted out that the labor participation rate saw an uptick too.
It’s at its highest rate since March 2020, when the pandemic triggered widespread closures and lockdowns.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak from the White House about the jobs reports at 10:15 a.m. Friday morning.
The numbers come after a brighter October, when employers added 531,000 workers to their payrolls.
October saw the best numbers since July, before the Delta variant of COVID-19 stalled hiring.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Thursday that Omicron could pose a ‘significant’ risk to the global economy.
The U.S. economy added just 210,000 jobs in November, which is 340,000 below the expected 550,000 jobs, in a sign that companies are still wary of the coronavirus pandemic. The data was compiled before Wednesday’s announcement that Omicron was in the U.S.
‘Hopefully it’s not something that’s going to slow economic growth significantly,’ Yellen said in an interview with Reuters. ‘There’s a lot of uncertainty, but it could cause significant problems. We’re still evaluating that.’
Yellen said that new strain of the coronavirus could exacerbate supply chain issues and rising inflation.
November’s modest employment gains could temper expectations that the economy was poised for stronger growth this quarter after hitting a speed bump in the third quarter due to the Delta variant.
Consumer spending and manufacturing activity have been strong.
But the Omicron variant of COVID-19 poses a risk to the brightening picture.
While little is known about Omicron some slowdown in hiring and demand for services is likely, based on the experience with Delta, which was responsible for the slowest economic growth pace in more than a year last quarter.
There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of September. Millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic recession remain outside the labor force.
Economists say strong stock market and house prices have increased wealth for many Americans, encouraging early retirements.
Households have also accumulated massive savings and there has been a surge in self-employment.
Biden has been plagued with sluggish poll numbers, exacerbated by the administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
His victories on the Congressional front have done nothing to move the needle up, a poll from Morning Consult found this week.
He stands at 45 per cent approval and 52 per cent disapproval in a survey conducted between November 28-30.
Biden tells another tall tale: President claims he met Golda Meir during the Six-Day War in 1967 while he was still a law student and she wasn’t the Israeli PM
President Biden seemed to misremember his diplomacy record in Israel in the early days of his career, telling a tale about meeting with former Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1967, while he was still in law school and she wasn’t the nation’s leader.
‘I have known every — every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir,’ Biden said during a Hanukkah celebration on Thursday.
‘And during the Six-Day War, I had an opportunity to — she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez.’
The Six Day War was conflict between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt, which ended in Israel seizing the Golan Heights, West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. It last from June 5-10 1967, a time when Biden was still in law school and Meir was not yet prime minister.
Meir served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974
‘I sat in front of her desk,’ Biden said. ‘And she had a guy — her staff member — to my right. His name was Rabin. And she kept flipping those maps up and down. She had that bevy of maps — sort of kept it — and it was — it was so depressing what she was — about what happened. She gave me every detail.’
Meir served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974.
Biden appeared to be confusing the Six Day War with a meeting he had with her just prior to the October 1973 Yom Kippur War. Biden had been sworn in as a senator that year at the age of 29.
New details of that meeting emerged in 2020. Meir reportedly chain smoked as she explained the regional security threats to a young Biden, according to a memo obtained by Israeli reporter Nadav Eyal. The president later called that sit-down ‘one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.’
Biden told Meir that in previous meetings he’d had in Cairo, he’d learned that Egypt accepted ‘Israel’s military superiority.’
Still, he said that Israel’s mass takeover of territory during the Six Day War had amounted to ‘creeping annexation.’
The memo said that Biden accused the Nixon administration of being ‘dragged by Israel,’ and complained it was impossible to have real debate in the Senate because lawmakers were fearful of Jewish voters.
Meir rejected Biden’s suggestion she forfeit regions of no strategic importance to tamp down tensions in the region, lecturing him on the region and its issues.
The official taking down notes on the meeting said that Biden was respectful of Meir and ‘eager to learn,’ but displayed ‘a fervor and made comments that signaled his lack of diplomatic experience.’
Weeks later, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, eventually drawing in the US and Soviet Union in defense of their allies.
After the Soviet Union began to restock munitions for Egypt and Syria, the US began to provide military aid to Israel.
Israel was able to stave off advances and hold onto its territory, but years later gave Egypt back the entire Sinai Peninsula in exchange for lasting peace.
Weeks ago Biden embellished another tale – about a small kitchen fire which he entirely claimed consumed his Delaware home, with his wife in it.
Biden addressed a crowd from a New Hampshire bridge on Nov. 18 speaking about his bipartisan infrastructure plan that was recently signed.
As he spoke about the importance of infrastructure, the president shared an embellished anecdote about the time he suffered a small house fire in 2004. Photos of his Delaware property shortly after the fire, show it to be entirely intact, from the outside.
‘Without this bridge, as I said earlier, it’s a 10-mile detour just to get to the other side,’ he told the crowd. ‘And I know, having had a house burn down with my wife in it — she got out safely, God willing — that having a significant portion of it burn, I can tell: 10 minutes makes a hell of a difference.’
According to The Associated Press, the 2004 fire Biden referred to was a ‘small fire that was contained to the kitchen.’
The small fire was started by a lightning storm.
‘Luckily, we got it pretty early,’ Cranston Heights Fire Company Chief George Lamborn said. ‘The fire was under control in 20 minutes.’