It was not what Joe Biden said Monday night that drew attention; it was the way he struggled to say it.
Throughout Biden’s speech after the Electoral College chose the Democrat as the nation’s next president, he continually coughed and cleared his throat.
Biden is 78, which will make him the oldest president to assume the office. It also makes his health an issue — and increases the scrutiny on Biden’s public communications.
“It’s crucial that he and his staff put himself in the position early in his presidency where he can express what he wants with a crispness that’s not always been his strength,” Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, told The Guardian.
“He has got to build up credibility with the American people that he’s physically and mentally up to the job,” Baker said.
Monday’s speech led to a vast discussion of Biden’s coughing.
Jeez! Somebody hand him a glass of water!
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 15, 2020
How many times did Joe clear his throat? pic.twitter.com/SWHBhO6jAz
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 15, 2020
To the main theme of the Twitterverse right now: Biden regularly clears his throat and coughs in speeches – especially at the beginning of remarks. That’s the most sustained coughing I’ve heard though.
— Scott Detrow (@scottdetrow) December 15, 2020
Joe Biden had a hard time delivering his speech with a throat problem. He would have been wise to say he will look into election fraud allegations to reassure angry voters. He did not. Lost opportunity. Best news analysis on https://t.co/rryWmyXe7C.
— Bill O’Reilly (@BillOReilly) December 15, 2020
The cough police also rebuked the former vice president.
Congratulations. But please…please advise President-Elect Biden to cough into the bend of his arm, not into his hand. As a physician, I cringe every time I see that. Please. Practice it ‘prn’ [if needed], but no more coughing into his hand. Set a good example. Thank you.
— Melody McCloud, M.D. (@DrMelodyMcCloud) December 15, 2020
— Mima Hansen (@MimaHansen) December 15, 2020
Biden would blame a minor cold for his problem during a post-speech virtual meeting with supporters.
“I have a little bit of a cold, I’m sorry, but look, you know, you did it, you did it, not a joke,” he said, according to the Independent.
Last month, Biden was hobbling after injuring his foot in what he said was an accident when he stepped out of the shower to chase his dog.
During Monday’s speech, the Democrat criticized President Donald Trump for contesting the results of the election.
“It should be celebrated, not attacked,” Biden said of his apparent victory. “More than 81 million of those votes were cast for me and Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris. That too is a record, more than any ticket has received in the history of America. It represented a winning margin of more than seven million votes over the number of votes cast for my opponent.”
The Trump campaign has insisted that there was voter fraud in several swing states. Numerous affidavits testifying to various types of election fraud have been filed in courts in those states. These affidavits constitute evidence of fraud, but the allegations have yet to be proven in court.
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