White House press secretary Jen Psaki called out NBC News Kelly O’Donnell for always asking about Joe Biden’s health, as she deflected questions from another reporter about when the president will undergo a physical.
Brian Karem, Playboy’s White House correspondent and CNN’s political analyst, asked Psaki about the long sought-after results of Biden’s next check up at the close of Tuesday’s press briefing.
He said: ‘Hey Jen, will he take a physical anytime soon and report it to the American public?’
Psaki answered merely ‘He will’.
When pushed about whether it will be this year, she added: ‘Kelly asks about this all the time. She’s keeping us on our toes.’
The president has not released a medical report since the last update in December 2019.
Since his inauguration this year, questions have been raised about Biden’s physical and cognitive wellbeing.
Psaki repeated her previous promise that once the president gets a physical – which she said in May would be before the end of 2021 – the administration would be ‘transparent’ about its findings.
NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell (pictured right at a July 6 press briefing) has garnered a reputation for doggedly pressing issues
Covering the White House since the George W. Bush administration, O’Donnell has garnered a reputation for doggedly pressing issues.
On July 26, Biden even called her a ‘pain in the neck’ after she shouted a question about Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough’s department-wide COVID vaccine mandate for its health care workers.
‘You are such a pain in the neck, but I’m going to answer your question because we’ve known each other so long,’ the president shot back.
O’Donnell retorted, ‘I take that as a compliment, Mr. President,’ earning a chuckle from Biden.
Requests for Biden’s medical records were reignited last month after a September 16 speech the 78-year-old president made was frequently interrupted by his persistent cough.
On July 26, Biden even called O’Donnell a ‘pain in the neck’ after she shouted a question about Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough’s department-wide COVID vaccine mandate for its health care workers
‘Many of us were in the East Room watching the president,’ O’Donnell asked Psaki at the time after the President called out big corporations who, he said, didn’t pay their fair share in taxes and profited off the COVID pandemic in the speech.
‘We’ve seen him on many occasions where he has a repeated cough. What is the situation with that cough and is that a concern?’
Psaki responded that it ‘[wasn’t] a concern, and that a doctor constantly travels with the president and ‘checks in if its ever warranted.’
‘Is there an explanation for why he coughs so frequently in situations like that? I’m sure you saw it,’ O’Donnell pressed.
‘I did – I don’t think it’s an issue of concern,’ Psaki said. ‘I think there are 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. But it’s not an area where we have a medical concern.’
Biden was interrupted by repeated coughing fits during his remarks
In August, Biden’s cognitive abilities were called into question after a car crash interview over his handling of the unfolding Afghanistan crisis.
US President Joe Biden’s medical history
Heart: Atrial fibrillation detected in 2003 (an irregular heart beat);
Brain: Two cerebral aneurysms in 1988 (bulging blood vessels in the brain that burst);
Lungs: pulmonary embolism in 1988 (a blood clot in his lung)
Other ailments: In addition to several sinus surgeries, Biden has had his gallbladder removed and has had several non-melanoma skin cancers removed.
America’s oldest president provided jumbled responses to questions and mixed up details about his son in an interview with ABC.
The stumbles did not make the broadcasted version but were revealed when a full transcript of the interview was published overnight.
It revealed the President incorrectly stated his late son Beau Biden worked for the Navy in Afghanistan, before correcting himself that he served for the Army in Iraq. The slip-up followed a spate of gaffes and slips of the tongue since Biden ran his successful presidential campaign in 2019.
Previously, Biden has suffered two brain aneurysms and a heart condition which makes the muscle beat too fast, causing dizziness and confusion.
A top cardiologist told MailOnline back in August that both conditions are linked to memory difficulties and confusion, as well as dementia.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS consultant and expert in evidence-based medicine, said: ‘Certainly there’s a link [between the conditions and cognitive decline].
‘But just as a doctor observing him, given his medical history and age, I’m worried about early onset dementia.
‘I would be worried about anyone exhibiting issues with recall and memory at Joe Biden’s age.’
And Dr Amit Bajaj, an associate professor in speech science Emerson University in Boston Massachusetts, agreed that the reasons behind Biden’s increasing number of gaffes might be because of declining cognitive health in old age.
Joe Biden spoke to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday night. On Thursday the transcript was published, which showed that parts of his remarks, where he tied himself in verbal knots, were not included
Biden suffered two brain aneurysms in 1988 while trying to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, which went to Michael Dukakis. He had surgery to treat the life-threatening conditions.
Scientists warn those who suffer aneurysms – bulging blood vessels that usually occur in the brain or arteries that burst – may face memory difficulties, such as problems absorbing, storing and recalling information.
Biden is known for his blunders and even referred to himself as a ‘gaffe machine’ in 2018.
In July, he forgot his reasons for running for president, and when he was newly elected he referred to his deputy as ‘President Kamala Harris’.
The President also suffers from atrial fibrillation – a condition that causes an irregular or fast heart beat.
Doctors first diagnosed Biden’s condition in 2003 when he had his gallbladder removed.
Medics have warned the condition can cause tiny blood clots that slowly injure parts of the brain over time, which can cause thinking and memory problems.
As America’s oldest President, age may also be catching up on the lifelong politician – the risk of dementia doubles every five years after age 65 and one in six people have it by age 80.
Mr Biden has also experienced accidents since becoming President, including falling three times on one occasion in March while climbing up the stairs of Air Force One.
And last November he suffered hairline fractures in his foot when playing with one of his dogs and had to wear a protective boot for weeks.
He also introduced his granddaughter as his deceased son Beau, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015.
And he confused Libya and Syria when at the G7 summit in June.
The blunders have led a number of US commentators and critics to say he is too old to be the US leader.
Ex-White House doctor Ronny Jackson said Mr Biden’s memory slips meant he was unfit to run the country
And Obama’s former physician Dr. David Scheiner said the President is ‘not a healthy guy’ and has concerns about him having a stroke due to his heart condition.
Dr Bajaj told MailOnline: ‘He has a reputation for gaffes. It’s hard to say if it is interlacing with anticipatory anxiety.
‘I think there are several contributing factors. Part of is the speech. Part of it is cognitively where he might be at because he is old.
‘But the relative influence of any one of them is uncertain. It’s probably a mix of both.’
But his personal physician Dr Kevin O’Connor said in a medical report published in December 2019 that he was a ‘healthy and vigorous’ man who was ‘fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency’.
And Professor James Rowe, a dementia and neurodegeneration expert at Cambridge University said Mr Biden’s memory gaffes ‘are common and do not in themselves indicate a condition, let alone dementia’.
He added: ‘They are especially common when people are busy or tired after a long day, and over 50-years-old.
Many over-50 ‘will recognize the “tip of the tongue” problem when a name does not come immediately to mind, or momentarily swapping names between people (or pets) close to them’, Professor Rowe said.
Professor Sophie Scott, an expert in cognitive neuroscience, told MailOnline that the long-term effects of brain aneurysms depend on where in the brain it was, as well as whether and how early it was treated.
If people are treated early enough, they can have ‘very few lasting problems’, she said.
Professor Scott said: ‘Forgetfulness is a normal part of ageing – names in particular can be a problem for people as they age, maybe because there is not much information in a name to help you to connect it to the person.’
Information is much easier to store in the brain, because people process it by thinking about its meaning, she explained. But names do not have much meaning, other than a rough guide to gender and culture, so it’s much harder to remember, she added.