Ahead of Biden physical, Obama doc expresses concern about another six years in office

 February 19, 2023

Former President Barack Obama's physician expressed concerns about President Joe Biden's health before the results of his physical were released Thursday, saying he's not in perfect health now at 80 and certainly won't be at the end of a second term when he is 86. 

Dr. David Scheiner said that conditions like atrial fibrillation and previous surgery for aneurysms can make Biden prone to strokes, which can do damage to the brain even if they are minor ones.

"I don’t care if he’s in perfect health now – which, I can’t believe he’s in perfect health," Scheiner said. "He’s had too many things in his past history."

A 2021 neurological exam showed no evidence of any strokes, and the doctor who did the aneurysm surgeries in 1988 said in 2019 "with absolute certainty that he had no brain damage."

"He's not a young 80"

That was four years ago now, though, and Biden's performance as president over the last two years has many people asking hard questions about his mental capacity.

"It worries me that he is aging. If I look at him, he’s not a young 80," Scheiner said of Biden, referencing his shuffling gait.

"The gait is not an insignificant factor," he said, claiming that it provides "a peek into the whole physical, mental capability of a person."

When the physical results were released later on Thursday, Biden's doctor attributed it to arthritis and spinal stenosis rather than dementia.

Biden also had diagnoses of Afib, peripheral neuropathy, GERD, and hyperlipidemia, but was proclaimed "fit for duty" anyway.

A cognitive exam did not seem to be part of the overall physical, even though Republicans have requested this.

"They sugarcoat these things"

Scheiner predicted that the exam would not get to the heart of Biden's cognitive issues, just as the last one did not.

"You’re not going to learn anything," he predicted. "They sugarcoat these things."

After the previous exam in 2021, instead of actually checking on Biden's mental capacity and cognitive ability, the administration pointed to a New York Times piece that cobbled together a bunch of experts to speculate that Biden would be okay for six more years given his current condition.

"The New York Times spoke to 10 experts in aging to paint a picture of what the next six years might look like for a person of the president’s age. These experts have not examined or treated Mr. Biden, though they have looked at publicly available information, including a medical report issued by the White House last year, a day before his 79th birthday. Mr. Biden, these experts agreed, has a lot going in his favor," then-Press Secretary Andrew Bates and the Times both said at the time.

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