Just days after President Joe Biden came into contact with an individual infected with COVID-19, White House press secretary Jen Psaki threw the press into confusion after saying the president was “asymptomatic” during a media briefing Tuesday — usually language used with someone who has been infected with the virus.
The move came on the same day the president coughed through a speech about the omicron variant, leading some to speculate about his health.
Of course, if the White House and team Biden had been open about the president’s health — particularly in terms of cognitive function — this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. At The Western Journal, we’ve been calling for transparency since Biden began seeking the presidency. We’ll continue to hold the White House and the Democrats accountable — and you can help us in our fight by subscribing.
According to CNBC, Biden had come into contact with an individual described as a “mid-level staffer” aboard Air Force One on Friday for roughly 30 minutes; on Monday morning, the staffer received a positive test result.
Given the transmissibility of the new omicron variant — now reportedly the dominant strain in the United States — along with Biden’s advanced age, the obvious question was whether or not the president had tested positive for the virus.
“So, first off, how is the president feeling given close contact?” a reporter asked at the top of Tuesday’s press briefing. “Is he symptomatic? Is he doing OK? I know he’s getting tested tomorrow, but can you give us an update?”
“He’s asymptomatic,” Psaki said. “I spent several hours with him this morning, and he is feeling great. And you’ll see him at the speech shortly.”
That language confused many, including former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
He is ‘asymptomatic’ but did he test positive or negative for covid? That is a different question https://t.co/FwckNwdAlP
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) December 21, 2021
Psaki was asked about this later in the briefing: “Can you clarify, he has not tested positive, though?” a reporter asked. “Because this is causing confusion out there.”
“Yes, he — apologies, he has not tested positive,” she responded. “He tested negative yesterday, as we indicated. And he will be tested against tomorrow.”
She added that he didn’t have any symptoms. Besides being different than asymptomatic — while it may have been a slip of the tongue, the latter denotes someone who has COVID but isn’t showing symptoms — whether or not you found this believable depends on how much you thought Biden’s coughing during his appearances on Tuesday was par for the course. Some on Twitter thought that it wasn’t, given that a raspy Biden coughed repeatedly.
Despite Biden’s repeated coughing, WH says he is asymptomatic for COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/TsUr93I37f
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 21, 2021
Biden is coughing, sneezing through his speech
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) December 21, 2021
Who had “Biden coughing up a lung while discussing Covid” on their Bingo card?
— Holly Coburn (@hollyoxcoburn) December 21, 2021
Biden talking to the nation about plans to control the Omicron variant… whilst coughing like hell!
— Taz ?? (@Tazman_London) December 21, 2021
And then there was Biden’s claim during the press briefing: “I’m not supposed to be having this press conference right now.” Something which raised some eyebrows on social media.
Biden is going along and then, all of a sudden, he starts swaying and yelling at the clouds….then ends his answer by saying “I’m not supposed to be having this press conference right now.”
That’s on top of coughing earlier. The President of the United States is…not well. pic.twitter.com/fvXuxWaMZO
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 21, 2021
Granted, Biden is known to suffer from a chronic cough, something his doctor noted during the president’s yearly physical last month.
“The president has experienced increasing frequency and severity of ‘throat clearing’ and coughing during speaking engagements. He has exhibited such symptoms for as long as I have known him, but they certainly seem to be more frequent and more pronounced over the last few months,” the doctor wrote.
The doctor concluded it was due to gastroesophageal reflux. Nevertheless, given the situation, any deviation from the president’s normal level of coughing would be cause for concern.
Furthermore, while Biden had tested negative on Monday and will test again on Wednesday, he hadn’t been tested on Tuesday, according to Psaki — something that’s not insignificant when taking into consideration the fact the leader of the free world was in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus on Monday.
And then there was the president, days after coming into contact with someone who had the virus for a half an hour, going maskless on federal property during a speech at which — if he’s serious about messaging — it might have behooved him to keep the cloth covering on for:
Joe Biden — who recently came into contact with a COVID-positive person — ignores his own indoor mask mandate. pic.twitter.com/452TAClwC4
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 21, 2021
Joe Biden breaks his mask mandate AGAIN after telling Americans to “wear a mask when indoors.” pic.twitter.com/h7nkJQwpU9
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 21, 2021
Joe Biden completely ignores his own mask mandate while masked U.S. Marines play instruments for him. pic.twitter.com/bTVScTD7hp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 22, 2021
This likely wouldn’t have made much difference — but don’t tell the White House this, given their dedication to masking. If there was ever a day to wear one, however, Tuesday would have been the day. The fact Joe Biden didn’t says a lot about how important they think the facial coverings are.
For that matter, almost two years into this pandemic, Jen Psaki should probably know better than to use the word “asymptomatic” where it doesn’t belong, unleashing a torrent of confusion — assuming, of course, they’re relatively sure Biden isn’t COVID-positive. We’ll get a better idea of how certain they were in the days to come.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.