Biden Is Getting His Physical Today

Amid much speculation about his mental acuity, the nation's oldest president heads to Walter Reed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2024 10:34 AM CST
Biden Is Getting His Physical Today
President Biden walks out of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday to board Marine One for a short trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden is visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday for his annual physical exam—and the results are sure to be closely watched as the 81-year-old president seeks reelection. Already the oldest president in US history, Biden would be 86 by the end of a second term, should he win one. After his last physical, performed in February 2023, doctors declared Biden "healthy, vigorous" and "fit" to handle his White House duties, reports the AP. But voters are approaching this year's election with misgivings about Biden's age, having scrutinized his gaffes, his coughing, his slow walking, and even a tumble off his bicycle. "I'm going to Walter Reed to get my physical," Biden told reporters as he left the White House, which said it will release a written summary of the "routine" checkup later in the day.

Former President Trump, 77, was 70 when he took office in 2017, which made him the oldest American president to be inaugurated, until Biden broke his record by being inaugurated at 78 in 2021. Testing of memory and cognitive skills aren't usually part of routine physicals like the one Biden is undergoing. His last physical showed that the president had a lesion removed from his chest over the previous year, but the results then otherwise largely matched the findings after Biden's 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.

The White House also announced last summer that Biden had begun using a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine at night to help with sleep apnea—which could be reflected in the final report his doctors will release on Biden's physical on Wednesday. The president had a colonoscopy in 2021, in which a 3mm "benign-appearing polyp" was identified and removed. In 1988, Biden had surgery to repair two brain aneurysms, which are weak bulges in arteries, with one of them leaking, but subsequent examinations have never revealed evidence of recurrences. (More President Biden stories.)

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