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Health of the US President: excitement about Biden’s “Jackie” calls

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There is no law requiring US Presidents to disclose details about their health to the public. Nevertheless, most of them did it regularly – also because the physical and psychological condition of the supreme commander of a superpower is naturally of great interest.

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Joe Biden had the results of a thorough examination by his personal physician Kevin O’Connor published in November 2021. The president, who will turn 80 in November, is described as “healthy and strong”. The following were confirmed: harmless atrial fibrillation, increased cholesterol levels, increasingly stiff gait caused by arthrosis and regular coughing because stomach acid flows back into the esophagus.

There is no explanation for Biden’s regular slips of the tongue in O’Connor’s bulletin. The president has been doing this for years, and since it is known that he stuttered as a child, a lot can be explained.

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But an appearance by Biden on Wednesday sparked new excitement. The President appeared at a White House conference on the fight against hunger. On the podium, he thanked the members of Congress who made this possible, looked at the audience and then called out, “Jackie, are you there? Where’s Jackie?”

That meant Republican MP Jackie Walorski. But she died in a car accident in her home state of Indiana on August 3 – which Biden actually had to know. At least the White House had condoled on his behalf.

Biden seemed taken aback that Jackie wasn’t in the room, and it wasn’t long before the incident went viral on social media. Republicans asked him to apologize to Walorski’s family, and the right-wing media did with renewed vigor what they have been doing since he took office: portraying Biden as senile and making fun of him.

The attempt by his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre to explain the performance went wrong. Jean-Pierre said the President’s thoughts were with Walorski, who said he would meet with her family on Friday when he signed legislation naming a veterans’ hospital in Indiana in her honor.

However, the spokeswoman did not explain why Biden apparently assumed Jackie was in the room. It is likely that he had simply forgotten her death. Well-meaning people note that given his workload, that can happen.

Would a renewed medical bulletin help clear up the ambiguity? In view of the hostile media debates and the willingness to believe conspiracy theories, this must be doubted.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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