Sep 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden pledges complete health transparency if elected

Joe Biden promised in an interview with CNN that he will be "totally transparent" about all facets of his health if elected president.

Why it matters: Biden, who will be 78 in November, would be the oldest president in U.S. history. The Trump campaign has sought to cast doubt on Biden's mental faculties and physical fitness for office — attacks that the former vice president has frequently laughed off.

Driving the news: Biden's pledge also follows new reporting in New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt's book that claims that Vice President Mike Pence was told to be on standby to assume the powers of the presidency if President Trump was put under anesthesia during his sudden visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last November.

  • The White House has never fully explained the visit. Trump asked the White House physician earlier this month to release a statement saying that he "has not experienced nor been evaluated for" a stroke or mini-stroke, in response to "recent public comments regarding his health."

What they're saying: "Yes. When it occurs, anything occurs — anything can happen," Biden said when asked by CNN's Jake Tapper whether he would pledge complete and urgent transparency.

  • "I laid out my health records in more detail, pages and pages of it when I became vice president. Everything, my entire background relating to my health," he continued.
  • "And thank God I am in good health. But here's the deal. Anything can happen. I've become a great respecter of fate, a great respecter of fate. I've seen too much of it in my family related to accidents alone. I guarantee you, I will be totally transparent in terms of my health and all aspects of my health."
  • "And when it comes to Donald Trump versus me, just look at us. Who seems to be in shape? Who's able to move around?" Biden added with a laugh.

The big picture: At the end of his answer, Biden concluded, "And one more thing I'll do — I'll take responsibility. I'll acknowledge my mistakes when I make them. And I'll level with the American people."

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