Biden Says He Has a Cold After Speech Delivered With Hoarse Voice

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President Joe Biden told reporters that he has a cold, after repeatedly coughing during an address Dec. 3.

Biden’s voice sounded deeper than usual, and he had to stop multiple times to cough, and clear his throat, during remarks on the November jobs report.

Biden took questions following the 14-minute address, and after being asked by a reporter if he was ok, the president said that he has “just a cold.”

“I’m ok,” Biden said. “I have a test every day to see—a COVID test—they’re checking for all the strains.

“What I have is a 1-and-a-half-year-old grandson who had a cold, who likes to kiss his Pop,” he added.

Biden went on to answer questions on COVID-19 policy, the Omicron variant, and the increase of troop activity at the Russia-Ukraine border.

Biden, who turned 79 on Nov. 20, was determined fit for duty by a presidential physician after traveling to Walter Reed Medical Center, in Maryland, to undergo a physical and colonoscopy two weeks ago.

While under anesthesia for 85 minutes, Biden transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris who became the first woman to hold presidential powers.

The physician, Kevin O’Connor, wrote in his report that Biden remains “healthy” and “vigorous.”

But the report also described America’s oldest president as having a “stiffened gait” with mild nerve damage in his feet.

During the Friday address, Biden touted the country’s continued decline in unemployment, despite a Department of Labor (DOL) report showing decelerated job growth for November.

According to the report, released Dec. 3, U.S. Job growth slowed last month with employers adding 210,000 jobs—the smallest increase in nearly a year, and far fewer than the forecasted 550,000.

This after the country saw strong job growth in October with a total of 546,000 new jobs.

The report says the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, the lowest in 21 months.

Biden also said Dec. 3 he plans to sign a bill later in the day that will avoid government shutdown.

The bipartisan measure, passed Dec. 2 in the Senate, will fund the government for the next few months—just before funds were set to run out at midnight.

“Funding the government isn’t a great achievement,” said Biden. “It’s the bare minimum we need to get done, but in these times bipartisan cooperation is worth recognition.”

Biden also made remarks on the pandemic, gas prices, and inflation.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Nick Ciolino

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Nick Ciolino covers the White House.

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