President Joe Biden’s 80th birthday on Nov. 20 will likely force his aides to begin to publicly address a concern they've privately struggled with how to handle — his advancing age.
According to The Washington Post, questions about Biden’s cognitive and physical health have swirled since his first presidential run in 2019 and have persisted throughout his first two years in office.
With Biden potentially announcing a reelection bid in the coming weeks to months, the United States is entering uncharted territory — that of having an octogenarian occupy the Oval Office.
If the president runs for and wins a second term, he would be 82 at his inauguration in 2025 and 86 at the end of his second term.
Aides told the Post that no final decision on a reelection run has been made, but finding ways to diffuse the age issue in the minds of voters has taken on a new urgency for White House officials.
Videos of Biden stumbling or looking confused often circulate online; sources who spoke to the news outlet on the condition of anonymity said that West Wing aides will immediately share them among themselves to stay apprised of the attacks and come up with a response.
In a recent example, Biden called out for the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., at a White House summit in September, seemingly forgetting that she had died the previous month in a car accident.
"Jackie, are you here?" he asked. "Where’s Jackie?"
Video clips of Biden asking, "Where’s Jackie?" began to circulate online almost instantly, with conservative media outlets sending push alerts and conservative commentators raising the 25th Amendment as a way to remove Biden from office.
According to medical records and more than a dozen people who regularly interact with him, Biden has shown few signs of decline, apart from minor physical changes.
Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s physician, last year noted that the president's gait had become "stiffer and less fluid" since the 2020 election and attributed it to a case of spinal arthritis and the lingering effects of a foot fracture.
In medical records released nearly a year ago, O’Connor declared Biden "fit for duty" and capable of handling his responsibilities.
The Post reports that Biden exercises daily and maintains a healthy weight, in an effort to stay fit.
Steven Austad, senior scientific director at the American Federation for Aging Research, said the risk of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after 65 and 32% of those 85 or older have Alzheimer’s.
"Aging makes us more vulnerable to pretty much everything," Austad said. "Someone at that age would need to be monitored very carefully."
"I don’t see that age by itself would disqualify him," he added.
Voters, however, are coming to their own conclusions.
"Sometimes he's there, sometimes he's not," said Howard Walker, a 54-year-old New York Democrat who voted for Biden in 2020. "Sometimes he tells long grandma stories that go nowhere, which is what old people do. And that's okay, but that’s not what we need in a president."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.