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Biden’s doctor says US president is ‘fit for duty’

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Joe Biden is “fit for duty”, his doctor said on Wednesday, following his annual physical examination in which he identified “no new concerns” about the president’s health. 

“He continues to be fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations,” Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s physician, wrote in a summary of the visit which occurred earlier in the day at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. 

The check-up comes as Biden, 81, has struggled to fend off questions about his ability to serve a second term as president if re-elected in November, given his age. 

A recent poll from NBC News found that three-quarters of voters had concerns about the president’s age and fitness for office, just as he gears up for a months-long re-election bid this year.

A report by special counsel Robert Hur this month reignited concerns about his age this month by saying Biden had a “poor memory”, even as Hur declined to charge him with any wrongdoing in connection with a probe on his handling of classified documents.

This week, during an appearance on a late-night comedy show, Biden tried to confront concerns about his age mainly by comparing himself to Donald Trump, the former president and his likely re-election rival, who is 77.

“You got to take a look at the other guy. He’s about as old as I am,” Biden said, adding that “it’s about how old your ideas are”.

Biden’s physical examination also came on the same day that Mitch McConnell, the Republican senator from Kentucky, announced his plan to step down as the party’s leader in the Senate in November.

“It’s time for the next generation of leadership,” McConnell said in a speech on Wednesday. “I turned 82 last week . . . Father Time remains undefeated.”

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In the summary of Biden’s physical examination, which was released by the White House, O’Connor detailed how the president suffered from a stiff gait, sleep apnoea, some peripheral neuropathy, and had required a root canal and skin cancer surgery that had required no further treatment.

The physician also said that a “detailed neurological exam was again reassuring”, and that “there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder”.

“No motor weakness was detected,” he said, calling Biden “healthy, active, robust” and noting that he had been “happily married for 46 years”, did not smoke or drink alcohol, and exercised at least five days per week.

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