President Biden raised concerns Friday morning sounding particularly hoarse as he delivered remarks on November’s jobs report, which was less robust than expected.
The first question Biden took from reporters was about his raspy speech.
Biden said it was ‘just a cold’ and he is tested for Covid-19 every day.
‘What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ Biden said.
The president seemed to refer to his son Hunter’s youngest child Beau Jr.
Weeks ago the 79-year-old president had a benign polyp removed during his colonoscopy.
The physician also ran a series of tests and found that the president’s frequent ‘throat clearing’ could also be due to gastroesophageal reflux and found that there ‘were zero tumors or polyps, and his vocal cord appearance and function were normal.’
U.S. employers added just 210,000 jobs in November, well below the estimated half a million that economists had predicted.
It’s a sign that companies are still cautious as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.
However, Biden touted the new report. ‘We’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever,’ he said.
The first question Biden took from reporters was about his raspy speech
Biden said it was ‘just a cold’ and he is tested for Covid-19 every day
Biden, pictured above in Nantucket near his grandson Beau, said the child passed on a cold to him
‘What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ Biden said. His wife Jill is pictured above kissing Beau
He boasted about the ‘incredible news’ that the unemployment rate is down to 4.2%. ‘Simply put, America is back to work.’
Viewers of the speech immediately took notice of his strange sound.
‘The hell is going on with Biden’s voice? He sounds like Barry White,’ one Twitter user wrote.
‘By the sound of Biden‘s voice he’s either getting sick or just reached puberty,’ wrote another.
The data was compiled before Wednesday’s announcement that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was found in the U.S.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was on live television, doing a roundtable for MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when the number dropped.
‘That’s a number that feels a little, what? A little off?’ Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked, as economists had predicted 550,000 jobs to be added.
Psaki said she couldn’t publicly comment about the Department of Labor report yet.
‘Well, I know this sounds a little archaic, but I can’t comment on them until 9:30 a.m., by rules because I work at the White House,’ Psaki said. ‘I will say what people can expect the president to continue to say today, month-to-month, is that what we’re seeing are good trends.’
President Biden welcomed the news, saying America was back to work.
‘Today, we have incredible news that our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2% – a level experts didn’t expect us to achieve until 2024,’ he tweeted.
‘We’ve created 588,000 jobs per month on average this year – a record.’
The U.S. economy added just 210,000 jobs in November, which is 340,000 below the expected 550,000 jobs, in a sign that companies are still wary of the coronavirus pandemic. The data was compiled before Wednesday’s announcement that Omicron was in the U.S.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was informed of the modest number while on live television. She said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that she couldn’t comment on the report until 9:30 a.m., but said overall there were ‘good trends’ associated with the economy
President Biden welcomed the numbers as ‘incredible news’ despite being below forecasts
The unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent, the lowest since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. It was 4.6 per cent in October.
The U.S. has gained back 83 per cent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Additionally, wages increased.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted out that the labor participation rate saw an uptick too.
It’s at its highest rate since March 2020, when the pandemic triggered widespread closures and lockdowns.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak from the White House about the jobs reports at 10:15 a.m. Friday morning.
The numbers come after a brighter October, when employers added 531,000 workers to their payrolls.
October saw the best numbers since July, before the Delta variant of COVID-19 stalled hiring.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Thursday that Omicron could pose a ‘significant’ risk to the global economy.
‘Hopefully it’s not something that’s going to slow economic growth significantly,’ Yellen said in an interview with Reuters. ‘There’s a lot of uncertainty, but it could cause significant problems. We’re still evaluating that.’
Yellen said that new strain of the coronavirus could exacerbate supply chain issues and rising inflation.
November’s modest employment gains could temper expectations that the economy was poised for stronger growth this quarter after hitting a speed bump in the third quarter due to the Delta variant.
Consumer spending and manufacturing activity have been strong.
But the Omicron variant of COVID-19 poses a risk to the brightening picture.
While little is known about Omicron some slowdown in hiring and demand for services is likely, based on the experience with Delta, which was responsible for the slowest economic growth pace in more than a year last quarter.
There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of September. Millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic recession remain outside the labor force.
Economists say strong stock market and house prices have increased wealth for many Americans, encouraging early retirements.
Households have also accumulated massive savings and there has been a surge in self-employment.
Biden has been plagued with sluggish poll numbers, exacerbated by the administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
His victories on the Congressional front have done nothing to move the needle up, a poll from Morning Consult found this week.
He stands at 45 per cent approval and 52 per cent disapproval in a survey conducted between November 28-30.
Biden’s physician pronounces him ‘fit for duty’ in first public medical report
Joe Biden is ‘fit for duty,’ his doctor declared Friday after the president’s routine medical exam, which included a colonoscopy and ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam.’
Biden is ‘fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exceptions or accommodations,’ Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s longtime physician, wrote in a six-page memo to press secretary Jen Psaki, which was released by the White House.
In the first public medical report of Biden’s presidency, O’Connor addressed a couple of items that had become topic of public discourse – the president’s notable increase in coughing and clearing his throat and whether his stiffer gait a symptom of a neurological problem – such as a stroke.
‘There were no findings that which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder,’ the doctor noted, saying the ‘extremely detailed neurologic exam was reassuring.’
O’Connor concluded the causes were actually fairly minor issues.
Biden is experiencing ‘increasing frequency and severity of “throat clearing” and coughing during speaking engagements” over the last few months and it ‘warranted detailed investigation,’ the doctor acknowledged.
The cause was found to be gastroesophageal reflux, which has him ‘clear his throat more often.’ It also contributes to his ‘occasional cough and sinus congestion.’ His symptoms are exacerbated after meals, the report notes. He has no tumors in his sinuses however, and no signs of ulcer or stomach cancer.
The president, who turns 79 on Saturday, also has an ‘ambulatory gait’ that is ‘perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it was a year or so ago.’
That gait distrubance can ‘include a variety of neurological pathologies,’ Dr. O’Connor acknowledges. He cited the tests he ran to rule them out, saying he had a team of spine, foot and ankle, radiology, physical therapy and movement disorder neurological specialists to ‘carefully examine and assess the president.’
The neurological exam found ‘no signs of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis,’ the memo notes, but did it did find ‘a mild peripheral neuropathy in both feet.’
A ‘combination of significant spinal arthritis, post-fracture “limp and compensation” and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet are the explanation for the subtle gait changes which I was investigating,’ O’Connor writes.
The doctor noted Biden acknowledges being stiffer in the mornings but that it eases throughout the day, which is attributed to the ‘number of orthopedic and sports related injuries’ the president had over the years, including when he wore a boot on his right foot last year.
Biden would ‘likely benefit from some shoe orthotics’ and is in physical therapy, the memo notes.
Biden’s colonoscopy found a ‘benign-appear polyp’ that was easily removed.
‘Histologic evaluation is anticipated to be completed early next week,’ the doctor noted. ‘The president has never had colon cancer.’
O’Connor first started treating Biden in 2009 when he was vice president and he was the doctor wrote Biden’s last public medical report, which was released in December 2019 during the presidential campaign. O’Connor is a retired US Army colonel who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army Special Operations Command.
Biden is 5’11’ and 184 pounds with a BMI of 25. His blood pressure was 120/70. He ‘does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol and works out five days a week.’
The six-page memo on his health concludes with: ‘This patient’s current medical considerations … include a-fib with normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastresophagel reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet. For these, he takes three common prescription medications and two common over-the-counter medications.’
‘President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency, to include those of chief executive, head of state and commander in chief.’