President Joe Biden’s health became an issue of concern this week during his trip to Southeast Asia for a series of international summit meetings.
Reports indicate that Biden skipped the big G20 gala dinner Tuesday night in Bali, Indonesia after having complained earlier of having a “cold” and following a meeting just days prior with another world leader who then tested positive for COVID-19, according to Fox News.
According to the White House, however, Biden tested negative for the coronavirus on Tuesday and he only skipped the dinner event because he “needed to attend to a few items.”
Biden skips G20 dinner
“The breaking news would be that President Biden is missing the G20 leaders’ dinner,” Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy reported on Tuesday. “If you are the U.S. president you spend basically two days flying to get here for a dinner like this.”
“Yesterday, we did hear President Biden tell us that he had a cold, and he has tested negative for COVID, despite the Cambodian leader from our last stop being positive now,” the reporter added. “But we do not know exactly what is going on with the president. They called an early lid.”
Peter Doocy: “The breaking news would be President Biden is missing the G20 leaders dinner. We don’t know what’s exactly going on with President, they called an early lid.” pic.twitter.com/xQmkjs3yDC
— Becker News (@NewsBecker) November 15, 2022
Cambodian PM tests positive after meetings with Biden, others
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had left the G20 summit early after having tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday evening and his infection was confirmed by a doctor on Tuesday morning.
Just prior to the G20 summit, Cambodia had hosted a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over the weekend, during which Sen personally greeted and spent time with numerous other world leaders, including President Biden.
The White House said that Biden had tested negative for the virus and wasn’t determined to be a “close contact,” but media reports suggest otherwise, as the AP noted that Biden was indeed in close contact for extended periods of time with Sen during several meetings and events on both Saturday and Sunday during the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh.
WH says “It’s not Covid”
The U.K.’s The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that White House officials were insistent that President Biden did not have COVID again, after having suffered two back-to-back infections from the virus in July.
“It’s not Covid. He just had spent a full day in meetings and needed to attend to a few things tonight (nothing urgent!),” an unnamed administration official told pool reporters of Biden’s absence at the G20 dinner.
That official went on to note that Biden had spoken with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to apologize for missing the dinner, though Widodo was said to have replied that it was “not an issue,” and the official further pointed out that Biden intended to take part in other events at the summit before it concluded.