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Both notable addendums can be explained by relatively minor issues. The president’s persistent cough and throat clearing has been “more frequent and more pronounced,” the report said. It attributed the change to gastroesophageal reflux.
The report also said the president’s gait is “perceptibly stiffer and less fluid” than it was last year. The report attributed the stiffness to “wear and tear,” a “mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet” and “significant spinal arthritis.” The physician did not find significant nerve root compression, at least not enough to warrant “any specific treatment.”
While the most common cause of mild peripheral neuropathy is diabetes, Biden does not have the condition, the report added.
The report said Biden exercises five days a week and has good cholesterol levels. He weighed in at 184 pounds and stands just shy of 6 feet tall.
“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” the physician to the president, Kevin O’Connor wrote.
The oldest person ever elected to the White House, Biden has been subject to questions of his mental acuity that have tugged away at his approval ratings.
The White House press secretary also tweeted that Biden called Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prior to the procedure to congratulate her on the House passing his signature $1.7 trillion spending package earlier in the day.
Around noon Psaki wrote that Biden was back in contact with Harris and White House chief of staff Ron Klain.
“@POTUS spoke with @VP and @WHCOS at approximately 11:35am this morning. @POTUS was in good spirits and at that time resumed his duties. He will remain at Walter Reed as he completes the rest of his routine physical,” she tweeted.
Harris followed protocols used twice during the presidency of George W. Bush when he had the same procedure, Psaki said in her statement. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, also served as acting president in 1985 while President Ronald Reagan had surgery to treat colon cancer.
Presidents throughout U.S. history have grappled with the desire to maintain some level of medical privacy — including sometimes dramatically obfuscating their condition — with the public’s right to know about the health of its leader.
Former White House press secretary and chief of staff to the first lady Stephanie Grisham hinted earlier this year that in 2019 then-President Donald Trump underwent a colonoscopy that was never revealed to the public while in office.
The book also speculates that the former president did not undergo aesthesia so he would not have hand over power, even temporarily, to his vice president and kept the procedure under wraps so as not to be fodder for jokes at Trump’s expense.