Biden undergoes annual physical ahead of November election

Written by on February 28, 2024

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden will undergo his yearly physical Wednesday morning at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in what could be the final health update before the November election.

Biden, 81, last received his physical on Feb. 16, 2023. Results have been released on the same day of his exam in the past two years through a letter from Biden’s physician.

As he just departed the White House, coffee cup in hand, he told reporters, “I’m going to Walter Reed to get my physical.”

In 2023, Dr. Kevin O’Connor described Biden as a “healthy, vigorous 80-year-old man” who was “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” He did note that the president’s gait had stiffened compared to the previous year, saying it was likely the cause of “wear and tear” on the spine, but did not result in “root nerve compression significant enough to warrant any specific treatment.”

The president also had a small skin lesion removed from his chest and a biopsy confirmed it was basal cell carcinoma and “all cancerous tissue was successfully removed.” Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and roughly 3 to 5 million cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to JAMA Dermatology.

First lady Jill Biden also had two similar cancerous lesions removed in January 2023 from her face and chest.

Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans are concerned Biden is too old to serve a second term and believe that he has declined cognitively and physically.

A Quinnipiac University poll published on Feb. 21 showed that 67% of voters think Biden is “too old to effectively serve another 4-year term as president while 62% said Biden did not have the “physical fitness to serve a second presidential term” and 62% said he does not have the “mental fitness to serve a second presidential term.”

An overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published Feb. 11 think Biden is too old to serve another term.

According to the poll, conducted using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, 86% of Americans think Biden, 81, is too old to serve another term as president. That figure includes 59% of Americans who think both he and former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, are too old and 27% who think only Biden is too old.

There were no details about any kind of cognitive exam conducted by Dr. O’Connor last year or the kind of “mental competency tests” that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has called for.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has dismissed the idea of Biden taking a cognitive test during his physical, saying Dr. O’Connor does not believe it’s “warranted because of just who [Biden] is as president of the United States and everything that he has to deal with.”

“The president proves every day how he operates, how he thinks,” she said earlier this month. “That is how Dr. O’Connor sees it.”

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