Earlier this year, the White House physician reportedly diagnosed Biden with “significant spinal arthritis,” which aides claim have made his mobility much more difficult.
Biden is undergoing physical therapy with specialist Drew Contreras, but the White House is worried his public struggles will heighten voters’ concerns about his age and health. To prevent increased scrutiny, his aides have made him wear tennis shoes and limited his stair climbs.
“Democrats, including some in the administration, are terrified that Biden will have a bad fall—with a nightmare scenario of it happening in the weeks before the November 2024 election,” Axios reported.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates dismissed concerns about Biden’s health.
“This isn’t new—it was proactively and transparently disclosed in a 2021 report from the president’s doctor and again this year,” Bates said of the arthritis diagnosis. “This article fits an unfortunate pattern of media attempting to sensationalize something that has long been public, rather than covering the president’s very real achievements for hardworking Americans.”
Unfortunately, the White House’s efforts to shield Biden from more physically demanding tasks haven’t seemed to help much. On Tuesday, just hours after Axios published its report, Biden nearly took a tumble down the stairs while getting off Air Force One in Michigan, the New York Post reported.
Biden has already been relegated to the lower staircase in Air Force One to prevent such falls.
And in July his aides acknowledged that there had been an “intentional shift” to avoid displays of “physical frailty.”
Recent polls found that a majority of voters, including Democrats, are concerned about Biden’s age and think he’s too old to run for reelection.
In an Associated Press survey this summer, for example, 77% said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years, including 89% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats.