On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s persistent cough, which forced him to pause and clear his throat several times, has the public concerned. The noticeable coughing fit occurred during a speech about tax hikes. Soon after, reporters questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki about Biden’s health.
NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell addressed the matter head-on. “Many of us were in the East Room watching the president, we’ve seen him on many occasions where he had a repeated cough. What is the situation with that cough and is it a concern?”
Psaki snapped back, “It’s not a concern.” She added, “We have a doctor who travels with him, obviously who checks in if it is ever warranted, and certainly that continues to be the case, as it has been since the beginning of his presidency.”
O’Donnell followed up, “Is there an explanation for why he coughs so frequently in situations like that?” Psaki again downplayed the concern, responding, “I don’t think it’s an issue of concern. I think there is a range of reasons why we may need to clear our throat or we may have a little light cold, and that’s certainly something that presidents, elected officials, reporters, spokespeople can confront.”
There is only so much longer the White House can ignore the pressing concern. Even #Bidencough became a popular social media hashtag. In Thursday’s same briefing, Psaki was asked about when Biden would receive a full physical examination, as his mental acuity has been called into question for years.
“I know this is an understandable question. I don’t have an update. He will get one soon. And when he does, we will make sure you all are aware of it and get the information,” Psaki condescendingly responded.
The New York Post reports the recent times Biden’s cough has been problematic:
After he coughed and was hoarse while speaking in December after the Electoral College confirmed his victory in the 2020 election, aides said he was suffering from a slight cold.
More recently, the president hacked at several points during a speech Monday in California in support of Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election, causing him to apologize and even pause to take a sip of water.
During the presidential campaign, his doctor, Kevin O’Connor, told the Wall Street Journal that Biden is fit to serve as president, but also noted that he is being treated for high cholesterol, acid reflux disease and seasonal allergies.
Acid reflux often forces him to clear his throat, O’Connor said.
“This may also contribute to occasional cough and sinus congestion,” O’Connor wrote in a medical statement. “He has received an endoscopy to rule out any more significant disease.”
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