Biden gets annual physical, with fitness for office top election issue

US President Joe Biden departs the White House in Washington, DC, for Walter Reed Medical Center for his routine annual physical, on February 28, 2024. 

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Wednesday morning for his annual physical, with a formal summary of his results expected later in the afternoon.

While the physical is a routine examination, this year it could help bolster — or undermine — the 81-year-old incumbent’s case that he is physically and mentally capable of serving another four years in the White House.

The Democrat has weathered relentless attacks about his age and fitness from his political opponents, especially Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who will turn 78 in June.

After last year’s physical, White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said that Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”

Despite their closeness in age, polls show voters are less concerned about Trump’s fitness than Biden’s.

Earlier in February, a Department of Justice special counsel investigating Biden over his handling of classified documents described the president in a report as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

Biden angrily pushed back on that report, acknowledging his age but declaring, “I know what the hell I’m doing.”

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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