President Joe Biden missed a diplomatic dinner at the G20 summit in Indonesia on Tuesday night, leading to speculation after the aging president shook hands with a foreign leader who tested positive for COVID.
Biden, who turns 80 on November 20, quietly retired to his hotel days after meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Washington Times reported.
Biden health scare in Indonesia
The president had met with and shaken hands with Hun Sen at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia on Saturday.
Days later, Hun Sen announced he was sick with COVID and would be leaving the G20 summit in Bali early.
The news came as Biden skipped a gala dinner Tuesday evening without an explanation. Biden spent the night at his hotel instead.
The White House said that Biden does not have COVID but did not elaborate on why Biden skipped the dinner, saying it’s “nothing urgent,” although it was apparently urgent enough for him to skip an important dinner. The administration insisted that Biden would resume his regular schedule on Wednesday.
Biden, who took a fifth COVID shot in October, had a bout with the virus over the summer that forced him into isolation for two weeks.
His latest health scare comes as Biden continues to face questions about his viability as a presidential candidate in 2024, despite defying political gravity in the midterm elections by denying Republicans a much anticipated “red wave.”
Besides his advanced age and glaring cognitive challenges, Biden comes with the baggage of being a historically unpopular president, although not as unpopular as his immediate successor, Kamala Harris.
Michelle Obama is among the prominent liberals who appear to remain skittish about backing Biden in 2024.
Biden has hinted that he plans to run again, but he is keeping things vague while acknowledging the role of “fate.
“My judgment of running when I announce, if I announce— my intention is that I run again, but I’m a great respecter of fate and this is ultimately a family decision. I think everybody wants me to run, but we’re gonna have discussions about it,” Biden said last week.