Politico – Some time [Thursday] morning after President Joe Biden tested positive for Covid, a low-level staffer may have been dispatched to the White House carport to start the engine on the 25th Amendment.
Keep it idling, they’d be told, just in case he becomes seriously ill and is unable to perform the duties of his office. If that happens, a high-level staffer would quickly open the throttle on the amendment and invoke its powers to begin the temporary transfer of power to Vice President Kamala Harris.
It’s unlikely Biden will die. He has the best care possible, and unvaccinated people are about 7.2 times more likely to expire than the vaccinated and boosted, a club to which he belongs. He’s on the miracle antiviral Paxlovid.
But depending on the severity of his case, Biden could still be damn sick for a week, as the vaccinated and boosted who’ve contracted Covid-19 can tell you.
However high Biden’s viral load goes, we can count on two things to happen. The press corps, the political class and the public will demand to be read in on his medical prospect — not because we want anybody to abuse his HIPAA rights — but because as president he owes us a transparent view. A president’s illness is not his private business, especially if he is 79 years old.
“In 1965, when [President Lyndon Johnson] showed off his gall bladder incision to reporters after surgery, some joked it was a good thing he hadn’t been treated for hemorrhoids.”
But don’t expect medical candor from the Biden White House, even though his press secretary has promised a daily update on his status.
Biden would be breaking against the historical flow if he leveled with us. Being president means you need never be totally open about your health.
President Donald Trump probably set the modern standard for concealing his true fitness. During the 2015 campaign, he dictated to his doctor a preposterous health letter that claimed if Trump won, he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” The doctor issued the letter as his own assessment. Trump’s White House doctor insisted the president’s extraordinary health was due to “incredible genes.”
Trump only made overt what other presidents made covert. President Ronald Reagan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years after he left the White House, conducted himself in such a wobbly, detached state in 1987 that his aides considered activating the 25th Amendment.
President John Kennedy hid his Addison’s disease, other ailments, and his history of hospitalization from public knowledge.
President Dwight Eisenhower soft-soaped his severe 1955 heart attack. President Franklin Roosevelt lied about his ill health during the 1944 campaign