Updated February 29th, 2024 at 23:58 IST

Flak as Biden Physical Declared Him ‘Fit For Duty’ But Left Out Mental Status Exam: ‘Complete Joke’

Despite concerns around Biden's age, cognitive wellbeing and mental acuity, he describes himself as “the most qualified person in this country [US]."

Reported by: Digital Desk
US President Joe Biden. | Image:AP
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US President Joe Biden, who will turn 86 should he win the second term in the White House, was declared “fit for duty” by his doctors in a health check-up summary detailing his annual physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The oldest president in US history, who is under scrutiny for his age, gaffes, constant coughing, mix-ups, memory lapses during keynotes, having awkward falls and even tumbling off a bicycle, wasn’t examined for his cognitive or mental status.

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Biden’s mental well-being has turned into a talking point as he heads into the 2024 presidential campaign. Despite longstanding concerns over his abrupt confusion and forgetfulness such as having a hard time recalling the name of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, whom he called “the opposition,” and addressing the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi as the “President of Mexico,” Biden argues, 'My memory is fine.’

Biden also describes himself as “the most qualified person in this country to be president.”

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US President Joe Biden fell when he tried to get off his bike at the end of a ride Saturday at Cape Henlopen State Park near his beach home in Delaware. (AP)

While Biden got a clean health bill at Walter Reed in suburban Maryland, some the American lawmakers and doctors including the Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) criticized the physical exam, calling it a “complete joke.”

Appearing on the Hannity show, Jackson (R-TX) questioned why a typical neurological exam was not included in the physical for Biden. “This whole report is absolutely ridiculous,” Jackson said in the televised remarks. The latter served as a White House physician under former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. 

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“It’s nothing more than an attempt by the White House to check the box and hope we move forward with it,” he added. Jackson derided the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who defended Biden’s cognitive abilities at a presser saying that they were on display on a daily basis for people to see.

Biden falls at Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. (Screengrab from X)

“She’s right,” Jackson hit back. “Every day he has a cognitive test and every day he fails miserably.”

“The fact that as part of that physical exam they didn’t do a cognitive test, they did a neurological exam,” Jackson maintained. “The neuroexamination consists of five parts. One of them that they conveniently left out and that we care about is the mental status test. They have no knowledge of his mental state.”

Jackson dismissed the test results by Dr. Kevin O’Connor who declared that Biden “remains fit for duty and will fully perform all of his duties without exceptions or accommodations.” He bashed the examination, saying that it was “a complete joke from Dr. O’Connor. If he was serious, he would have conducted a thorough, comprehensive and objective investigation that included a cognitive exam, and he would have stood up in the press conference room in front of the press and defended it,” Jackson said. “He would have answered questions. But he doesn’t do it because he doesn’t want to answer the questions, because he has to lie.”

Jackson rubbished the physical  arguing that it was nothing but a ‘cover-up.’ The “majority of Americans can see that Biden's mental health is in total decline, yet there is no transparency from the White House on what's going on, if anything, to address this issue and his inability to do his job,” he said, in a televised interview with American broadcaster Fox.

“Nowhere in the report was there mention of Biden's deteriorating mental health. This is alarming, considering I have already sent three letters to the White House demanding that Biden receive a cognitive test and that the results be made public, all of which have been ignored. Everyone can see something is wrong — the cover-up needs to end,” Jackson told Fox.

A ‘sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory’

In the  special counsel’s report investigating his possession of classified documents, Biden was described as the 81-year-old Democrat with memory that is “hazy,” “fuzzy,” “faulty,” “poor” and one that has “significant limitations.” Hur suggested that Biden would seem too feeble to prosecute: “It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.” Biden will not face charges for mishandling classified documents as he was described as  'a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’

US President Joe Biden trips and falls three times on Air Force One stairs while climbing up the plane. (X)

Biden has struggled to recall the milestone moments of his life such time when he served as vice president of America under the Obama administration, or even remembering tragedies so grave as the death of his son Beau who passed away aged 46 of brain cancer in 2015.

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In Biden’s own mind, his son died fighting a war in Iraq but in his defense, he “doesn’t need anyone, anyone to remind when he [Beau] passed away.” “Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself, it wasn’t any of their damn business,” he said.

In the Feb. 5 letter from the US president’s lawyers, published in Hur’s report, they argued that Biden’s “inability to recall dates or details of events that happened years ago is neither surprising nor unusual” particularly when the classified documents were moved. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs polls showed that 77% of US adults believe that Biden is “too old to be effective.”

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 23:58 IST